SIMCOE MUSKOKA — Dead birds found in Bracebridge and Oro-Medonte have tested positive for the for the West Nile virus (WNv).

They are the first positive tests in Simcoe-Muskoka this year, reports the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), which received notification from Public Health Ontario.

As of today, Friday Aug. 4, no confirmed human cases of the mosquito-borne viral disease have been reported in the province.

WNv circulates between birds and some species of mosquitoes and can be transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite if the mosquito has first bitten an infected bird.

The risk of contracting WNv from an infected mosquito is highest in late summer.

And although most people will not become sick if bitten by an infected mosquito, 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.

“Finding these infected birds is a reminder that we all need to continue to take appropriate measures to protect ourselves against West Nile virus at this time of year,” says Ramien Sereshk, program coordinator of SMDHU’s Healthy Environment and Vector-Borne Diseases program. “The best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites.”

The health unit recommends the following personal protection measures:

  • Use an approved mosquito repellent, following 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).

The health unit says it is continuing its surveillance for the virus throughout Simcoe Muskoka.

Anyone with concerns about a dead bird can contact the CWHC at 1-866-673-4781.

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

A bird in Bracebridge was found with the West Nile Virus, which it had been bitten by a mosquito that then bites a human could cause the person to become ill – if not seriously.