Positive case of West Nile virus in a mosquito reported by Public Health Sudbury & DistrictsIssued: Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Public Health Sudbury & Districts has received confirmation that a mosquito on Manitoulin Island has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNv). This mosquito was detected through routine surveillance conducted by the health unit. The health unit traps mosquitoes annually to identify mosquitoes in the Public Health Sudbury & Districts area and to find out if those mosquitoes are carrying WNv.
Positive mosquitoes were last detected in the Public Health Sudbury & Districts area in 2018, within the City of Greater Sudbury.
“In our service area this year, there have been no confirmed cases of birds, animals or people being infected with the virus. However, this positive mosquito reminds us that although the overall risk of a person becoming infected is low, the virus is still present,” said Burgess Hawkins, a manager in Public Health’s Health Protection division. “Therefore, taking precautions to avoid becoming infected with West Nile virus is important,” added Hawkins.
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms while others may experience mild symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, mild rash, and swollen lymph glands. In very rare cases the infection can affect the central nervous system and cause serious symptoms.
Late summer is typically the time of greatest risk for contracting West Nile virus. Mosquitoes can carry higher levels of the virus at this time, and this is when people might not be as careful about protecting themselves from mosquito bites. Here are some simple measures you can take to continue to protect yourself and your family:
Reduce the risk around the home
- Install or repair window and door screens.
- Remove standing water from around your home where mosquitoes can breed.
- Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks when outside, especially from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use an approved insect repellent and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Anyone concerned about a dead bird can contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1.866.673.4781.