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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
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West Nile Virus

What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus (WNv) is a disease that is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. The majority of infected individuals have mild or no symptoms. However, the elderly and those with certain chronic medical problems, including problems with their immune systems, can become ill. 

Early symptoms of WNv can include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache, sudden sensitivity to light, tremors, numbness, or vision loss. In severe cases, WNv can cause inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. If individuals believe they are experiencing early symptoms of WNv, they are encouraged to contact their primary health care provider.

Mosquitoes acquire the West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds. You cannot get the disease from person-to-person contact. No specific treatment or vaccination is available for West Nile virus. For severe illness, supportive therapy is provided. 

Protect yourself from West Nile virus:

  • Wear light coloured clothing and minimize exposed skin if out at dawn and dusk
  • Use an insect repellant containing DEET or Icaridin
  • Remove any sources of standing water, since mosquitoes lay their eggs there
  • If you encounter a dead bird don’t handle it with bare hands

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Need More Information About West Nile Virus?

For more information, call 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 677.

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We are gradually resuming in-person services at HPEPH by appointment only at this time.  Please review our Service Interruptions page for more information.

All program lines and the COVID-19 information line operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (excluding statutory holidays).

To assist us with our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we ask anyone visiting the office for an appointment to:

  • bring a non-medical mask, physical distancing may not be possible during your appointment
  • maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres, both inside and outside the office
  • review symptoms of COVID-19, and reschedule your appointment if you have symptoms of the virus, or any other illness
  • reschedule your appointment if a family member or other close contact is ill
  • use accessible buttons to open doors, instead of handles
  • use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the building

We have made additional changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are visiting our office for an appointment, you can be confident that we are:

  • increasing our cleaning, in alignment with heightened infection control protocols
  • considering alternatives to in-person appointments and meetings when possible
  • screening staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19
  • offering in-person services by appointment only to reduce traffic in office
  • ensuring staff wear masks and/or other protective equipment when seeing clients

Please continue to our website for more information about our programs and services.