Lambton County records its first human West Nile virus case of 2020

Aedes vexans mosquito ready to bite. imv via Getty Images

Lambton health officials are reminding residents to avoid exposure to and prohibit the breeding of mosquitoes after confirming the county’s first positive human case of West Nile virus of the year.

The case is among 24 human cases that have been reported across the province in 2020, Lambton Public Health said Wednesday.

It’s unclear where the individual resides in Lambton, but the health unit says mosquito pools in Petrolia and Oil Springs tested positive for the virus last month.

“The confirmed human case is a reminder for Lambton residents to remain vigilant and take precautions to prevent exposure to mosquitoes and to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their property,” health officials said in a statement.

“Despite lower nightly temperatures, the mosquito season is not over until frost and cold temperatures halt mosquito breeding.”

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The confirmed case comes a day after the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported that mosquitoes with West Nile Virus had been found in a trap near Sifton Bog.

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“The Health Unit has not identified West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes in a trap since 2018,” MLHU said Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Huron Perth Public Health has reported two positive mosquito pools this year, while Southwestern Public Health, which covers Elgin County, Oxford County and St. Thomas, has reported three positive mosquito pools.

A majority of human West Nile virus cases this year, 11, have been reported in the City of Toronto, according to Public Health Ontario. Durham Regional has reported six, and Halton Regional four. One has also been reported in Windsor-Essex.

The first human case of 2020 was reported in Markham.

Most people infected with West Nile, some 70 to 80 per cent, present no symptoms, according to Health Canada. Of those that do, mild symptoms, which typically appear within two to 15 days after infection, include fever, headache, body aches, mild rash, and swollen lymph glands.

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The virus is usually spread by the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird, the agency says.

Click to play video: 'Putting the bite on the West Nile virus'
Putting the bite on the West Nile virus

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