The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reminding residents to take measures to protect against mosquito bites.

The announcement comes following confirmation that mosquitos collected in Alliston, in the town of New Tecumseth, tested positive for West Nile virus.

It’s the first lab-confirmed evidence of WNv in the health district this year.

SMDHU recommends a number of measures to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:

  • Use an approved mosquito repellent and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing and cover-up in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • Try to stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active (at dusk and dawn).
  • Remove standing water around your house or cottage.

Although most people will not become sick if bitten by an infected mosquito, the Health Unit notes WNv can cause severe illness in some people.

Symptoms of WNv include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache and a sudden sensitivity to light. In very rare cases, the virus may cause serious neurological illness.

Those experiencing symptoms should seek medical advice.

Meanwhile, the health unit says it will continue its surveillance for the virus in Alliston as well as throughout Simcoe Muskoka.

For more information, visit the health unit website or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.