by Jim Chan.
West Nile virus is an infection that is carried by mosquitos in many countries of the world, including Canada and the USA. Mosquitoes are infected with the potentially deadly virus when they bite infected birds and in turn infect humans through biting. In 2002, according to Mt. Sinai Hospital - Microbiology, three residents in south Ontario are suspected to be the first human cases of West Nile Virus in Canada.
In Canada, according to Public Health Agency of Canada, Most people who get West Nile virus (70% to 80%) experience no symptoms at all. Others may experience a sudden high fever with these flu-like symptoms including headache, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash.
According to CDC on West Nile Virus prevention message, the most effective way to avoid West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites and to be aware of the West Nile virus activity in local area such as media updates from public health departments.
Mosquito bites prevention
- Stay indoors during peak mosquito activity (at dusk and dawn) if possible.
- Use mosquito repellents when go outdoors. Make sure to choose a repellent containing DEET according to the Ontario Ministry of Health . Always read the label directions before using, or ask the local health agency or a pharmacist for information when choosing a DEET product.
- Wear light-colored clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and a hat, or consider avoiding outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking during peak mosquito activity (at dusk and dawn).
- Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent can give extra protection.
- Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (at dusk and dawn) and avoid areas with large numbers of mosquitoes if possible.
Mosquito-proof home and building
- Make sure home has tight-fitting screens on windows & doors to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitos around the home by keeping property clear of standing water. Check and keep eaves and gutters clear of leaves and debris, dump
- Also check for standing water on pool covers, water garden ponds, and check around garden hoses and faucets for leaks and can result in pools of standing water.
- For garden ponds (Photo - below), make sure to add fish to control mosquito larva
Ask if the local government agency monitors natural areas such as marshes and ponds and large artificial bodies of water such as storm water ponds to determine if treatment is necessary. Also, ask if pesticide is being applied to catch basins and areas where mosquitoes can breed.