Mosquitoes spread West Nile by first feeding on infected birds, then pass it on to other birds and mammals, including humans, when they bite. The virus survives in nature in birds and is transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds.
People 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop serious illness when infected with WNV.
CPH officials say their first human case of West Nile does not mean the virus is present in St. Lawrence County.
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There have also been 333 surveillance pools in the province where mosquitos have been collected and have tested positive for the virus. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 44,000 people have been diagnosed with West Nile virus disease since 1999. In humans, West Nile can cause flu-like symptoms. As a result, the municipality has been larviciding storm water catch basins for many years to reduce mosquito populations and provide extra protection for the public. One in five people will develop illness with fever and other symptoms, including headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. Most people with this type of illness recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
Minimize time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and trousers when outdoors, and prevent standing water as mosquito breeding grounds on your property.
- Any containers that can collect water should be discarded or dumped daily. Although it may be hard to do when it's hot, wearing long sleeves, long trousers and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
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Apply insect repellents on exposed skin or clothing.
Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
Homeowners are also advised to remove standing water from around the home, and ensure screens are free from breaks or rips.
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