Mosquitos test positive for West Nile virus on Toronto Island
Toronto Public Health (TPH) has confirmed that some recent small batches of mosquitoes from Toronto Island have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The city department informed island residents via an e-mail on Tuesday explaining how their surveillance program picked up the mosquito-borne disease during a routine check.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Christine Navarro says recent flooding across the city has created an environment favourable to the proliferation of the species, however, the risk of contracting West Nile after getting bit is low.
“We’ve found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus in other parts of Toronto since July, ” Navarro told AM 640. “So it’s not unexpected that we’ve found mosquitoes with the virus on the island as well.”
With the Island re-opening on Monday to the public, Navarro says travellers likely have little to worry about as long as some simple precautions are taken during the trip.
“Visitors can take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites anywhere in the city,” said Navarro. “That includes taking measures during peak biting time which is dusk and dawn, wear DEET and icaridin, as well as wearing long sleeve shirts and pants.”
WATCH: First case of West Nile virus reported in Toronto
Last year, TPH reported 22 cases of West Nile virus in humans with 14 people having to be hospitalized.
TPH has been conducting mosquito surveillance in Toronto since 2002, and has seen positive West Nile virus tests fluctuate throughout the city during the 15-year period.
As of July 26th, the city reported six mosquito pools testing positive for West Nile. Typically, surveillance is done between mid-June until mid-September.
West Nile infections in humans can go relatively unnoticed with symptoms usually developing between two and 15 days. Symptoms may include fever, headaches, exhaustion, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rash and sensitivity to light.
In rare cases, the virus can cause serious neurological disease.
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