First human case of West Nile virus in Peel confirmed in Mississauga resident


Published September 1, 2023 at 4:59 pm

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A Mississauga resident is the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Peel this year.

Peel Public Health officials who confirmed the case in a news release late Friday afternoon didn’t say how old or what gender the person is, noting only that the person has tested positive for the virus, which is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

“As summer winds down, residents are reminded to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes capable of transmitting West Nile virus remain active until the first hard frost,” Dr. Kate Bingham, the Region of Peel’s associate medical officer of health, said in the news release.

Public health officials say the virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While most people who contract the disease will show no symptoms, some will experience mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body ache, a mild rash and swollen lymph glands, they add.

“In rare cases, persons infected with (the virus) will develop a more severe form of the disease,” health officials say. “People over 50 and those with a compromised immune system are at the highest risk of becoming severely ill when infected with West Nile virus.”

Peel Public Health monitors West Nile activity in the local adult mosquito population across the region during the summer.

Mosquitoes collected in Peel began to test positive for the virus beginning in mid-July and activity in mosquitoes has been higher than the historical average, officials note.

Health officials encourage people to protect themselves from mosquito bites by, among other measures:

  • applying an approved insect repellent containing an ingredient effective against mosquitoes, such as DEET or icaridin
  • avoiding areas with large mosquito populations and take extra precautions between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • wearing light-coloured, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing such as long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks to protect exposed skin
  • making sure all window and door screens fit securely and are free of tears and holes
  • ensuring that openings to rain barrels are always covered with a fine screen mesh
  • removing or draining items on your property that hold stagnant water

For more information about West Nile virus, call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.

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