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First human case of West Nile reported in Durham

Durham Region Health Department has confirmed one human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) illness – the first human case reported in Durham Region this year.

To date, there have been two human cases of the virus reported in Ontario.

In addition, there have been 67 WNV positive groups of mosquitoes identified across the province and a total of eight groups of mosquitoes in the region have tested positive for the virus.

Durham Region Health Protection Manager Laura Freeland says, “While the overall risk of becoming infected with West Nile Virus is low, it’s still important for everyone to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

WNV illness is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of a bird that carries the virus.

Area residents are encouraged to help reduce the risk of WNV by removing stagnant water around their properties, including removing unused objects that could collect water, such as tires, flowerpots, and toys; turning over items such as wading pools, recycling boxes, wheelbarrows, and boats and canoes when not in use; and changing the water in bird baths and wading pools and aerating ornamental ponds.

As part of the WNV surveillance program, the health department places mosquito traps throughout Durham Region. Mosquitoes caught in these traps are collected and tested weekly for the virus.

Adult mosquito surveillance will continue into September and concludes when weather conditions become cooler overnight and low numbers of adult mosquitoes are captured.

For more information, call the Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729, or visit