Oakville’s First Human Case of West Nile Virus

The Halton Region Health Department has been notified by the Public Health Ontario – Toronto Laboratory of Halton’s first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) illness for 2013: a female in her fifties from Oakville. Exposure to WNV was possibly local, but it may have been during travel outside Ontario. ­­­At the same time, Health Department staff report a batch of mosquitoes trapped last week in Milton tested positive for WNV, the first batch for Milton this year. WNV has now been detected in all four Halton Local Municipalities.

“This case of human illness and the additional positive mosquito trap underscore the need to protect yourself from mosquito bites from now until the hard frosts of fall set in,” said Dr. Monir Taha, Halton Region’s Associate Medical Officer of Health. “This message is particularly important for older adults or those with underlying illnesses because they are at higher risk for more serious West Nile virus illness.”

In Halton, the months of highest risk for human WNV illness are August and September. About 80% of people who become infected with WNV do not experience any illness, while about 20% will develop West Nile fever. Less than 1% will develop inflammation of the brain or its lining, or a type of paralysis. The following are steps that residents can take to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

  • Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
  • Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
  • Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET.
  • Make sure your window and door screens are tight and in good repair.

A map showing the locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied is available on the Health Department’s website at www.halton.ca/wnv.

To report standing water or for more information about West Nile virus, please dial 311 or call Halton Region at 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-4HALTON (1-866-442-5866), TTY 905-827-9833 or email wnv@halton.ca.

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