August 25, 2017 9:51 pm
Updated: August 25, 2017 10:06 pm

First human case of West Nile virus confirmed in Toronto

WATCH ABOVE: Farah Nasser speaks with Dr. Christine Navarro, Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, about West Nile Virus.


Toronto’s first human case of the West Nile virus so far this year has been confirmed.

Toronto Public Health issued a statement on Friday, reminding residents to take the proper precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites to minimize the risk of contracting the virus.

READ MORE: Ontario facing worst West Nile Virus ‘outbreak’ in 15 years, says researcher

The West Nile virus is mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito that had fed on an infected bird.

“Up until August 19th, there have been 14 reported cases in the province of Ontario,” Dr. Christine Navarro, Associate Medical Officer of Health at Toronto Public Health, told Global News.

Four out of five people who are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus do not show any symptoms, however, others could start feeling the effects two to 15 days after receiving a bite.

READ MORE: Two human cases of West Nile virus confirmed in Peterborough region

Common symptoms include fever, headache, body ache, swollen lymph glands, nausea, vomiting, and a rash, while more serious symptoms include a high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, tremors, numbness, and a sudden sensitivity to light.

Toronto Public Health advises wearing light-coloured, long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors, to apply insect repellent containing DEET, and to remove standing water from properties where mosquitoes can breed.

The city sets 40 mosquito traps across the city once a week from mid-June until mid-September. The mosquitoes are collected and tested in a laboratory for the West Nile virus.

READ MORE: West Nile Virus risk jumps from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’ in Hamilton

As of Wednesday, 48 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile.

“Based on our current mosquito surveillance what we’re seeing are fewer mosquito pools that are positive, lower mosquito infection rates,” Navarro said.

“Although we are expecting more cases in Toronto, they may not be as high as they were in previous years.”

Last year, Toronto Public Health reported 38 positive mosquito tests and 19 confirmed human cases of the West Nile virus.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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