The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has confirmed a third death in Windsor-Essex related to the West Nile virus.

Within the last two weeks, the health unit has received a total of three reports of death attributed to the virus.

Two of these deaths were adults who lived in Windsor and the third death was an adult who lived in Essex County.

“West Nile Virus continues to be a concern for local residents as the temperatures in our region are expected to remain mild for the next several weeks,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, acting Medical Officer of Health. “Residents are reminded to take measures to protect themselves and their families from being bitten by mosquitoes.”

The Health Unit, along with each municipality, will continue to monitor for WNV activity for the remainder of the season. To date, 29 mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV throughout Windsor and Essex County.

Fifteen confirmed cases and one probable case of WNV infection have been reported to the health unit.

As of Sept. 13th, there have been 65 confirmed or probable cases of WNV in Ontario. Compared to other areas in the province, Windsor-Essex had many more days with warmer temperatures which began earlier in the year.

These warmer temperatures result in more mosquitoes, with the possibility of more WNV infected mosquitoes posing a greater risk of WNV transmission in our community.

WNV causes a spectrum of illness which can range from no symptoms to flu-like symptoms to severe encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The majority of people infected will not have any symptoms.

Individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites in several ways:

-Use insect repellents that contain DEET, Icaridin or other approved ingredients on clothing as well as exposed skin especially when visiting green spaces such as parks, cemeteries, and walking trails. Always read and follow label directions.

-Wear loose long-sleeved shirts and pants with tight woven material.

-Protect yourself during any time you spend outdoors.

-Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.

-Visit a travel clinic before traveling to high risk areas.

Theresa Marentette, Director of Health Protection and Acting CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit urges area residents to eliminate any standing water around their homes such as bird baths, flower pots, eaves troughs and gutters. 

Discard any unwanted items in yards and alley ways that may be collecting water.  Residents are also asked to cut back weeds and tall grass which provide a resting place for mosquitoes

For more information on West Nile Virus, please visit the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit website.