How to prepare for West Nile virus season
Anyone can become infected with West Nile virus, Toronto Public Health is warning, though less than one per cent of people with the virus become sick enough to be hospitalized, and only one in 1,000 people may die.
But regardless of the chances, the city and the Canadian Centre of Mosquito Management are reminding people to be aware of the virus this summer. West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although the risk of becoming infected is low, protection against mosquito bites can reduce this risk even further.
- West Nile virus monitoring ramps up in southern Quebec
- Toronto’s first death from the West Nile virus confirmed
According to the city, Culex mosquitoes are the most common carriers of West Nile virus in Southern Ontario. These types of mosquitoes prefer to bite birds, but will also bite humans. Storm water catch basins have been identified as significant breeding sites for Culex mosquitoes.
The first step to avoid getting the virus is to avoid mosquito bites. Public Health recommends:
- Stay indoors during peak mosquito activity, usually at dusk and dawn.
- Wear light-coloured clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and a hat.
- Use mosquito repellent.
- Avoid areas with large numbers of mosquitoes.
Toronto Public Health says