Protect yourself against West Nile virusFriday, August 31, 2012 by: Kate AdamsNorth Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
There is an increase in West Nile virus activity across the province, with 49 confirmed cases in Ontario as of August 21, 2012. With that in mind, the Health Unit wants to remind the public about the importance of protecting themselves against West Nile virus.
Health Unit staff have been actively monitoring for WNV in mosquitoes in various locations in our district since June to determine whether subsequent mosquito pools in the surrounding area are carrying the virus. To date, all mosquitoes tested from the district have been negative.
Mosquitoes acquire WNV by feeding on infected birds. The virus is spread to humans and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread from other animals.
Being bitten by an infected mosquito will not necessarily make you sick. In some cases, WNV may cause mild illness in humans including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and rash on chest, stomach or back.
In rare cases, however, more severe disease is possible, particularly in those who have weakened immune systems including elderly people.
For more information visit www.healthunit.biz .
The Health Unit recommends that people use simple personal protective measures to reduce the risk of illness due to bites from infected mosquitoes:
Take extra care when spending time outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear light-coloured clothing, including long-sleeves, pants, socks and shoes.
Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The concentration of DEET should be no greater than 30 % for adults and no greater than 10 % for children. Follow the recommendations by Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society for applying insect repellant containing DEET on children (see below).
Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
Eliminate any standing water so mosquitoes cannot breed.
Health Canada and Canadian Paediatric Society recommendations for the use of insect repellent containing DEET on children:
Under 6 months 0
DEET should not be used on infants under 6 months
6 months to 2 years - 1 - 10% or less
Apply only if a high risk of infection exists
2 to 12 years - 3 maximum - 10% or less
Avoid face and hands
Over 12 years - As required - 30% or less
Avoid face and hands