West Nile virus detected in Grey-Bruce

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A dead crow in Grey-Bruce tested positive for West Nile virus.

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This is the first bird to test positive for the virus in Grey-Bruce this year. No human cases of the mosquito-borne viral disease had been reported in Ontario or Canada this year, up to Aug. 2, a news release from Grey Bruce Public Health said.

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The health unit said the risk of contracting West Nile from an infected mosquito is very low, but is usually highest in late summer. In 2021, 25 human cases of West Nile were reported in Ontario and 45 in Canada, the release said.

Most people infected with West Nile do not experience any symptoms. Others see symptoms two to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms are usually mild and can include a fever and headache; however, serious symptoms can occur, the news release said.

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West Nile circulates between birds and some species of mosquitoes. It can be transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite if the mosquito has first bitten an infected bird.

The health unit sets mosquito traps monthly, from May to September, in each Grey-Bruce municipality. No positive mosquito pools have been identified in Grey-Bruce this year.

The best way to prevent infection from West Nile is to use insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin; wearing light-coloured long pants and long sleeves, socks and a hat when outdoors; eliminate standing water such as in flowerpots and eavestroughing, where mosquitoes breed; and fixing tears in window screens.

Anyone with concerns about a dead bird can contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative at 1-866-673-4781.

Author: Jordan Ross