West Nile death confirmed

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Six human cases of West Nile virus have been reported with one resulting in death so far this year in the local region.

This compares with just one confirmed case last year, said the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is a recent media release.

The last reported case of someone dying from West Nile virus in the area was back in 2016.

Recent data shows five mosquito pools tested positive – two in Cayuga and one in each of Simcoe, Dunnville, and Caledonia.

“The positive human cases and positive mosquito pools is a clear indication that threat of West Nile virus is present within our region and the public must take measures to protect themselves,” said Kwesi Douglas, program manager of environmental health at the HNHU.

West Nile generally peaks in the late summer, with cases being reported in the fall. It’s expected that residents will be at risk of the virus until temperatures dip below freezing.

As of Sept. 22 there were 88 reported cases of West Nile virus in Ontario.

The following is a list of things residents can do to protect themselves:

* Apply mosquito repellant containing DEET * Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn * Wear light coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants * Promptly eliminate standing water on your property.

Most people infected will not have any symptoms, while others may experience fever, headache and body aches. Those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of experiencing more serious health effects such as meningitis, encephalitis and acute flaccid paralysis.

If you experience any symptoms the HNHU recommends you seek medical attention.