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Birds test positive for West Nile in North Bay


The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says two wild birds -- American Crows -- in North Bay have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

In a news release, the health unit said the samples were submitted on June 4 by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and the results came back June 7.

“Mosquitoes acquire (the virus) by feeding on infected birds,” the release said.

“The virus is spread to humans and other mammals by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread from other animals.”

Being bitten by an infected mosquito will not necessarily make you sick. Symptoms usually appear within two to 15 days after infection.

“Most individuals (70 per cent to 80 per cent) infected with WNV have no symptoms,” the health unit said.

“In some cases, WNV may cause mild illness in humans including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and a rash on the chest, stomach or back.”

In rare cases, the health unit said more severe disease is possible, particularly in those who have weakened immune systems, including elderly people.

“If you experience a sudden onset of any symptoms, seek medical attention,” the release said.

“While there is no treatment or vaccine … symptoms can be treated.”

Prevention is the key. People can use simple personal protective measures to reduce their exposure to mosquitos and their risk of illness due to bites from infected mosquitoes, including:

Take extra care when spending time outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Wear light-coloured clothing, including long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes.

• Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The concentration of DEET should be no greater than 30 per cent for adults and no greater than 10 per cent for children. Follow the recommendations by Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society for applying insect repellant containing DEET on children (see below).

Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.

Eliminate any standing water in your backyard so mosquitoes cannot breed.

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