Health & Wellness

Detection of West Nile virus in region nothing to fear: EOHU

By Francis Tessier-Burns

August 17, 2018

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit says people become “complacent” when it comes to mosquito protection at this time in the summer.

Recently the EOHU detected West Nile Virus the the region and is now reminding people to protect themselves when outdoors and help minimize stagnant water on their property.

“This is a regular occurrence, we’ve been getting positive mosquito pools for many years,” says Dr. Roumeliotis. “Typically we see it during the late summer, early fall months so we give people a heads up.”

He reiterated that for most people the risk of infection is low. Those most at risk are the elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems.

“Most people who do get infected, don’t know they have and will have a cold or flu-like illness and it’ll go away on its own,” he says.

The EOHU tests local mosquito populations regularly throughout the summer, and this isn’t the first time West Nile has been detected. Last year, says Dr. Roumeliotis, there were a couple of confirmed human cases, but none so far this year.

“It’s very hard to predict from one year to another,” he says.

He added that while the detection is in a specific area, the advisory is applicable for the entire region as mosquito populations move around quite frequently.