ONTARIO —Toronto Public Health (TPH) has recently reported the first probable human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Toronto for the year 2023. The case involves an adult resident, and while it is yet to be confirmed by laboratory testing, health officials are taking necessary precautions to address the situation and raise awareness about the potential risks.
The individual suspected of being infected resides in Toronto and is currently under observation by medical professionals. TPH is working diligently to confirm the case through laboratory testing to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate measures . It's essential to note that the risk of infection remains low, but public health officials are vigilant and emphasize the importance of taking precautionary steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes carrying the virus.
West Nile Virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, and the discovery of the virus in mosquitoes collected from northwest Scarborough further underscores the need for public awareness and preventive measures . TPH conducts regular mosquito surveillance to monitor the presence and distribution of WNV in the city and promptly responds to potential health threats.
West Nile Virus infection symptoms can range from mild to severe, with common signs including fever, headache, and body aches. Older individuals and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of experiencing more severe illness if infected . Hence, health officials are urging residents to be mindful of any symptoms and seek medical attention promptly if they suspect they may have contracted the virus.
To reduce the risk of mosquito bites and potential exposure to WNV, TPH advises the public to follow simple preventive measures. Using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil is recommended when outdoors, especially during peak mosquito activity hours . Wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants can also provide added protection against mosquito bites.
Moreover, residents are encouraged to remove any standing water around their homes, as these are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This step helps mitigate the mosquito population and reduce the risk of potential virus transmission .
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the Medical Officer of Health, reassures the public that Toronto Public Health is closely monitoring the situation and is committed to safeguarding the health of the community . She emphasizes that by adhering to these simple preventive measures, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
As Toronto enters its peak mosquito season, health officials continuously monitor the situation and promptly respond to any developments. The collaboration between public health authorities and the community is vital in mitigating the risk of West Nile Virus transmission and ensuring the well-being of Toronto residents.