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Human case of West Nile virus confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka

The year's first human case of West Nile has been confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) says recent laboratory results confirmed a positive human case of West Nile virus (WNv), prompting health experts to advise residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

The virus can be transmitted to humans via mosquito bite if the mosquito has initially bitten an infected bird.

The health unit says residents should use an approved insect repellent, wear light-coloured clothing that covers arms and legs in areas where mosquitoes are present, and try to stay indoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Most people won't become sick if bitten by a mosquito, but the health unit warns that WNv can cause severe illness in some individuals.

Symptoms typically start between two to 14 days after being bitten, and can include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache and a sudden sensitivity to light, and in very rare cases, serious neurological illness.

Last month, the SMDHU said lab testing confirmed two dead birds, one in Oro-Medonte and the other in Bracebridge, were infected with the virus. The health unit said it was the first evidence of WNv reaching the region this summer.

Between June and the end of October, the City of Barrie works alongside the SMDHU, conducting a larviciding program to control larval mosquitoes to prevent their development into vectors of WNv.

The health unit did not provide details about where the individual contracted the virus.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of WNv should seek medical advice. Top Stories

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