Local Bird Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

The public health unit in the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District has reported that a local bird tested positive for West Nile Virus. The bird in question, a bald eagle in the South Grenville area, was found to have the virus, although it is unclear if it contracted the virus locally. West Nile Virus is known to circulate between mosquitoes and birds and can be transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.

During the summer and early fall months, the health unit conducts mosquito testing by setting traps throughout the region. In 2023, no mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit. While most human cases of the virus are asymptomatic, some individuals may experience mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus can also include nausea, vomiting, and eye pain. Less than one percent of infected individuals develop neuro-invasive disease, with older age groups and males being more disproportionately affected. To prevent the spread of West Nile Virus, officials recommend taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as using insect repellents containing DEET or icaridin and eliminating standing water and brush on properties.

It is important to note that humans cannot directly contract West Nile Virus from birds. If a dead bird is found on your property, it is advised to use gloves and a shovel to double bag the bird, wash hands thoroughly, and report it to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. By following these guidelines, individuals can reduce their risk of exposure to West Nile Virus.