Toronto

York Region reports first human case of West Nile virus in 2019

An individual in the Township of King has been confirmed to have West Nile virus after The Regional Municipality of York received laboratory results.

The region warns many people exposed to the virus do not contract symptoms

Not all mosquitos spread West Nile virus, however there have been confirmed cases of the virus throughout Ontario. (Canadian Press)

York Region has identified its first confirmed case of West Nile of the year after an individual from the Township of King tested positive for the virus. 

The region's medical officer of health, Dr. Karim Kurji spoke about the risk of becoming exposed to West Nile virus in a news release Thursday, saying it can be reduced through simple steps.

"Remember to use insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin, wear protective clothing when outdoors and remove standing water around your home in places such as flower pots, bird baths and containers," said Kurji.

The region's public health agency is urging residents to protect themselves from contracting the mosquito-spread virus by following Fight the Bite tips. Some of these tips include:

  • Using insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin 
  • Wearing protective clothes to cover exposed skin
  • Limiting amount of time spent outdoors in the early morning and early evening when mosquitos are most active
  • Cleaning or removing standing water sources

Not all mosquitos spread West Nile virus, however there have been confirmed cases of the virus throughout Ontario.

The region warns many people who are exposed to the virus do not contract symptoms. Individuals who do develop West Nile virus illness may experience a variety of symptoms including fatigue, headache, fever, body aches, and mild rash and swollen lymph glands.

In rare instances, the virus can lead to serious neurological illness that can result in symptoms of severe headaches, stiff neck and confusion.

Those who experience these symptoms within two to 15 days after a mosquito bite are urged to seek medical attention. The West Nile virus is not transmitted person-to-person.