August 12, 2014 12:42 pm

Toronto mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus has been detected in Toronto mosquitoes for the first time this year on Aug. 12, 2014.

File / Global News

TORONTO – Toronto mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) for the first time in 2014, according to Toronto Public Health (TPH).

“The positive test result is a good reminder for the public to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to remove standing water from property where mosquitoes can breed,” said Elaine Pacheco, Healthy Environments Manager for Toronto Public Health in a release.

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Mosquitoes are submitted for lab tests every week; blood-sucking insects tested positive for the virus in Halton and Peel two weeks ago. The agency said no human cases of the virus have yet been reported to TPH in 2014. Last year there were 12 human cases of West Nile in Toronto.

READ MORE: Why some Canadians are more prone to mosquito bites than others

West Nile Virus is mainly transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that’s been infected by feeding on the blood of birds carrying the virus. Most people who become infected don’t show any symptoms; some show flu-like symptoms like body aches, fever, nausea, vomiting and a rash; in rare cases it can cause severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death.

Toronto Public Health suggests the following to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Wear light-coloured clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and a hat;
  • Use mosquito repellent approved by Health Canada and follow product instructions;
  • Avoid areas with large numbers of mosquitoes, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active;
  • Make sure your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.

READ MORE: Toronto man dies from West Nile Virus

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