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Hamilton confirms first human case of West Nile Virus in 2021

Heads up, Hamilton: the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the city for 2021 was just confirmed.

The discovery has prompted the city’s Medical Officer of Health to move the local West Nile risk from low to moderate.

Public health is reminding Hamilton residents to protect themselves against potential mosquito bites, and to remove standing water from their properties to prevent mosquito breeding.

“While most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms (approximately 80 per cent), others including older adults or those with weakened immune systems may experience West Nile fever (~20 per cent) or they may develop more severe illness including inflammation of the brain or the lining of the brain (~1 per cent),” reads a release from the city.

“For any infection, if symptoms do occur, they appear two to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.”

Some protective measures Hamilton residents can take include using mosquito repellent containing DEET or Icardin when outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are known to be present, wearing long-sleeved garments when in wooded areas or gardens; especially at dawn or dusk.

“It is important to take precautions to avoid illnesses spread by insects including West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Eastern equine encephpalitis,” says Dr. Bart Harvey, Hamilton’s Associate Medical Officer of Health.

“Employing simple preventive measures such as using insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, covering up, and removing standing water on your property to prevent mosquito breeding will reduce your risk while you enjoy the outdoors. The risk of these infections will drop once there is a heavy frost that reduces the number of mosquitoes.”

Read the full release on the city website.

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