First human case of West Nile confirmed in Toronto for 2018

A Toronto resident has tested positive for the West Nile virus, becoming the first confirmed case in the city this year.

Public health officials did not say where in the city the person became infected.

The adult was hospitalized for treatment and is now recovering at home.

While the risk of becoming infected with the virus is relatively low, the city’s associate medical officer of health, Dr. Allison Chris, said there are a number of ways people can protect themselves during the summer months.

She encouraged citizens to wear insect repellent, wear light-coloured clothing and remove standing water to prevent infection.

“That would include mosquito repellent and DEET,” she said. “And look around your environment, your property, your home. What you want to do is make sure you don’t have standing water. (You can also) secure the screens on your windows so that mosquitos don’t get into the house.”

Extra caution should be taken during dusk and dawn, officials said, as it’s considered “peak mosquito biting time.”

If infected, people can develop numerous symptoms, but Chris said those symptoms vary depending on the severity of the infection.

She said 80 per cent of people don’t experience symptoms at all.

“Most people who get bitten by a mosquito, even if the mosquito has West Nile, do not get symptoms,” she said. “Those that get mild symptoms can include a fever, a headache, muscle pain, fatigue and sometimes nausea and vomiting.”

Anyone who suffers what she called “severe symptoms,” though rare, could experience high, persistent fever, confusion and numbness in their extremities.

“We recommend anybody who is concerned to seek medical care,” she said.

Between June and September, public health officials conduct weekly tests on mosquito traps set up across the city.

Chris said while it’s now considered peak season, laboratory tests conducted thus far have all been negative.

“We started testing in the last week of June,” she said. “This point in time we haven’t had any positive mosquito pools.”

Last year, 26 people in the city contracted West Nile.

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/first-human-case-of-west-nile-confirmed-in-toronto-for-2018-1.4031005