West Nile Virus is primarily spread to humans by the bite of a mosquito which has previously fed on an infected bird (or person).
There is currently no vaccine against West Nile virus, which can cause encephalitis (a, possibly fatal, inflammation of the brain or the membranes covering the brain) or meningitis (a swelling in the membranes covering the brain and spinal cords) in 100 species of birds and 9 mammals (including horses, gorillas, and humans). Here is an analysis of dead birds in Canada from 2010
Since 2002, 42 Canadians have died of West Nile virus, 13 in 2009 and 4 in 2010.
In the U.S., 720 people died in 2009 and 1,021 people in 2010.
Here is a link to a website with information on Current and Past U.S and Canadian West Nile Virus Human statistics
Most people infected with West Nile Virus will exhibit no symptoms or minor flu-like symptoms, but can still be carriers of the disease and could spread the disease through mosquitoes biting them. Here is a link to a Canadian Public Health website with information on West Nile virus symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
The West Nile Virus season in Canada is May to end of October, and with the breeding cycle for mosquitoes being relatively short, it is essential that we remove or change standing water often (no less than once a week) in order to ensure reduce the desirable mosquito breeding grounds.
Reducing the numbers of mosquitoes in an area can help reduce the risk of infection. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit , in a press release, advises that we should:
"Drain water regularly from old tires, plastic containers, wading pools, wheelbarrows and clogged rain gutters"
and that we "Change the water in bird baths weekly and put screens on rain barrels to keep mosquitoes out"
Reduce your risk by reducing your exposure to mosquitoes during prime feeding times and wear proper insect repellant.
Here is a link to a Health Canada website with information on insect repellants and other information related to minimizing the risk of contracting West Nile virus.
In order to reduce your risk, Be Informed, Be Proactive, Be Prepared.
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage