Toronto Public Health confirms 1st case of West Nile in 2021

File photo. More mosquitoes and birds have been found to be carrying the West Nile Virus in Manitoba. File

Toronto Public Health says it has confirmed the first case of West Nile in the city in 2021.

In a release on Thursday, the agency said the confirmed case is in an adult resident. The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

“While the risk of being infected with West Nile virus remains low in our city, now is a good time to remind residents of prevention steps they can take while enjoying the outside to minimize the likelihood of getting bitten by an infected mosquito,” said the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen DeVilla.

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TPH offered the following precautions residents can take:

• Wear light-coloured clothing, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, dusk and dawn, by using repellent and covering up.
• Make sure your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
• Remove standing water from your property, where mosquitoes can breed. Standing water includes any water that collects in items such as pool covers, buckets, planters, toys and waste containers.

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Thirty-three cases were confirmed in 2020 by the agency.

Symptoms of the virus usually appear between two to 14 days after a person has been bitten, TPH said in the release. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

The risk of more severe illness is higher in older individuals or those persons with compromised immune systems.

Anyone who is concerned they may have contracted West Nile is to contact their healthcare provider.

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