Two people in Windsor, Ont. die from West Nile virus
Published Monday, September 11, 2017 6:50PM EDT
Two deaths attributed to the West Nile virus have been reported in the Windsor area, says Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
The health unit is warning the public to take precautions and protect themselves against the virus. The hot and wet conditions this year mean it’s a particularly bad mosquito season.
“(West Nile virus) continues to be a risk until the area experiences temperatures below freezing,” they said in a statement released Monday.
CTV Windsor reports that the victims were both elderly, who along with infants are at an increased risk due to weakened immune systems.
These were the first deaths that have been reported in the Windsor- Essex area since 2012.
The news comes after researchers at Brock University predicted an outbreak of West Nile cases in Ontario this summer.
In their study, published in the journal PLOS One in August, they said as many as 500 human cases are expected to strike the province.
Since the beginning of summer there have been several cases of West Nile virus reported in Ontario and they’ve become more frequent as summer comes to an end.
In Toronto, one case was reported in late August, a first for the city. Within the last three weeks at least two human cases were reported in Ottawa, three cases were confirmed in the Simcoe-Muskoka region and one was confirmed in Greater Subury.
As of Sept. 2 there have been 37 reported human cases in Ontario, according to Public Health Ontario.
While in B.C. there has only been one reported case as of Aug. 19.
Most West Nile cases are asymptomatic, around 80 per cent of people won’t develop any symptoms of the virus but about 25 per cent of people will get a fever, head and body ache, nausea, vomiting, and rashes on the back, chest, and stomach.
In less than one per cent of cases a person can develop a severe neuro-invasive disease.
The late summer is the most important time to take precautions as that’s when mosquitos switch from feeding on birds to searching for other food sources, like humans.
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit advises residents to eliminate any standing water around their property and to take “personal protective measures” to avoid getting bitten. They also suggest using bug repellent that has DEET, wearing light-coloured clothing, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and hat when outdoors as well as limiting the time you spend outside at dawn and dusk.
No other deaths linked to West Nile virus have been reported in Canada this year.
With files from CTV Windsor