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West Nile Virus

June 7, 2024

West Nile Virus Confirmed in a Bird Found Locally

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is advising the public that a Bald Eagle in the South Grenville area has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). It is unknown if the bird acquired the virus locally or not.   

West Nile virus circulates in the environment between mosquitoes and birds and sometimes is spread to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Humans can not pass the virus onto mosquitoes that are not infected because we do not produce enough virus in our bloodstream. During the summer months and early fall, the Health Unit sets traps throughout the region to gather mosquito specimens for West Nile Virus testing. In 2023, no mosquitos tested in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit were positive for West Nile Virus.   

The majority of human West Nile Virus cases do not show symptoms. About 20% of infected people may have a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes or other non-specific symptoms that last several days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or eye pain. Less than one percent of infected people will develop neuro-invasive disease, with older age groups and males disproportionately affected. 

To prevent West Nile Virus,  

  • Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites
  • Cover up when going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn 
  • Use insect repellant containing DEET or icaridin, following manufacturer’s instructions 
  • Remove brush and standing water from property as they use this as a habitat 
  • Humans cannot get West Nile Virus directly from birds, but is best to avoid interacting with dead birds if possible
  • If a bird is found on your property, use a shovel and gloves to pick it up and double bag it. 
  • Report the bird to Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative
  • Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water 

For additional information on protection measures against West Nile Virus such as reducing mosquito breeding sites and the safe use of insect repellents, please visit or the Insect Bites and Diseases section of our website.


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