First human case of West Nile strikes in Etobicoke

Toronto Public Health is reporting the City’s first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2006.

Toronto Public Health was advised of a 45-year-old female resident of Etobicoke diagnosed with WNV. The individual was hospitalized for two weeks, and is now recovering at home.

In 2005, the first human case of WNV was reported on July 30. So far this year, 26 positive mosquito pools and 8 birds have tested positive for the virus in Toronto.

“We know West Nile Virus is circulating throughout the city, and it’s important to take precautions,” said Dr. Michael Finkelstein, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “Human cases of the illness are usually contracted at this time of year.”

The following personal protection measures are recommended:

  • use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • wear light-coloured clothing and cover up in areas where mosquitoes are present
  • take precautions, especially in early morning and early evening, when mosquitoes are most active
  • repair any holes in door and window screens
  • remove standing water around your home.

The City’s WNV prevention program includes three components: monitoring for WNV in birds, mosquitoes and people; public education; and treating catch basins and other areas of standing water with larvicide to reduce mosquitoes.

The overall risk of becoming infected with WNV is low. Close to 80 per cent of people bitten by an infected mosquito do not get sick and less than one per cent become seriously ill. Symptoms include stiff neck, confusion, severe headache and sudden sensitivity to light. Some people are at higher risk, especially those over 55 years of age and those with compromised immune systems due to illnesses such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

For more information, visit or call 416-338-7600.