Toronto/IBNS: Toronto Public Health (TPH) has confirmed that a number of mosquitoes in Toronto have tested positive for the West Nile virus (WNV).
TPH found five pools of infected mosquitoes from Etobicoke, North York, and west Toronto, some of the first to test positive for the virus this year, a news release has said.
The risk to the public of getting infected is low, TPH said.
WNV is an infection transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Mosquito surveillance in the city is conducted by TPH annually and sees 22 traps placed throughout the city every week.
The program runs from mid-June to mid-September and trapped mosquitoes are brought to a laboratory for identification and then grouped into pools to test for the virus, TPH said.
Last year, a total of 20 mosquito pools tested positive, while in 2020 that number was 33.
Symptoms related to WNV usually develop between two and 14 days following infection and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands.
Older individuals and those with compromised immune systems, TPH said are at a higher risk of severe illness.
A number of tips to protect yourself during the last few weeks of summer offered by TPH include:
- Wearing of light-colored clothing, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors
- Applying insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin following the manufacturer’s instructions
- Taking extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, dusk and dawn, by using repellent and covering up
- Ensuring your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors and removing standing water from your property, where mosquitoes can breed such as water that collects in items such as pool covers, buckets, planters, toys, and waste containers.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)