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West Nile Virus

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with the virus show no symptoms or have flu-like symptoms.

How new is West Nile Virus?

The West Nile Virus was first discovered in Africa in 1937. It was reported in North America in New York City in 1999. Since then, it has been identified in most of the U.S. and many parts of Canada. West Nile was first reported in Ontario in 2001.

Who is at risk?

All individuals are at risk where virus activity has been identified. Persons over 50 years have the highest risk of the severe illness.

Is there a vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine available to combat this disease.

Is the disease seasonal in its occurrence?

In Brampton, West Nile Virus cases are more likely to occur in late summer and early fall.

Personal Protection:

• Wear light-coloured long sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors.
• Use only those insect repellents that are registered for use in Canada.
• Make sure the doors and window screens fit tightly and have no holes.
• Try to avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

General Protection:

• Clear leaves and debris from eaves troughs.
• Replace water in birdbaths weekly.
• Empty containers that hold water such as old tires, wheelbarrows, toys, swimming pool covers and recycling bins.
• Ensure flowerpot saucers, window boxes, and planters drain properly.

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