West Nile Virus
West Nile virus can cause serious illness in humans. It can be passed to humans if they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The virus is not spread by person-to-person contact.
The York Region Control Plan includes mosquito-control (larviciding), public education and surveillance. York Region monitors West Nile virus activity by setting mosquito traps and testing for the virus.
The chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito is rare and there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the chance of getting West Nile virus:
- Take precautions when outside in the early morning and early evening when mosquitoes are more active
- Use insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Wear long sleeved shirts or jackets, long pants and socks when outdoors
- Clean up around your home by emptying containers where water collects, such as in old tires, flower pots, bird baths and wading pools
Report Standing Water
Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water. Water that sits still for more than seven days creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos especially between early June and late August.
Contact York Region Health Connection to find out how to clean up mosquito breeding sites around your home, or to report stagnant water in your community.
Those who do develop illness may experience flu-like symptoms such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Stiff neck
- Severe headache
- Sudden sensitivity to light
If you experience any of these symptoms, get medical attention.
For a very rare few, the virus causes serious neurological illness including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). About four out of five people who are infected with West Nile virus do not show any signs of illness.