Two people in the Guelph area have tested positive for West Nile virus, officials with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health confirmed on Wednesday.
These are the first human cases in the region this year after three mosquito pools in Guelph and a bird tested positive earlier this year.
“It’s not surprising,” said Shawn Zentner, Health Protection Manager at WDG Public Health, in an interview with CJOY News. “We did anticipate that we would start to see human cases.”
The two people infected with the virus are expected to make a full recovery, Zentner said. But he does urge people to take extra precaution when heading outdoors because he expects to see more human cases this year.
“I’m monitoring provincial numbers and in the last week there’s been a fair jump in positive mosquito pools and human cases throughout southern Ontario,” Zentner explained.
Health officials said West Nile virus is most commonly spread to humans by mosquito bites. When infected, some people will experience flu-like symptoms. In extremely rare cases there is the potential of inflammation of the brain and spinal column which may result in permanent disability or death.
Adults over the age of 50 are most at risk of serious health effects.
To protect yourself from West Nile virus it is recommended to wear light-coloured pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside.
Health Canada recommends adults and children over 6 months of age use a mosquito repellent with DEET or icaridin. People should also avoid being outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes tend to feed.
More information can be found on the region’s website.