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Protecting yourself from West Nile on the farm

Protecting yourself from West Nile on the farm

Producers can take steps to avoid infections

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

While working outdoors, farmers likely come into contact with a variety of insects, including mosquitos.

Since these pests can transfer West Nile Virus to humans, producers can take a few precautions to protect themselves from becoming infected with the disease.

“The main thing that they can do would be to wear long-sleeved clothing,” Dr. Nick Brandon, a physician with Public Health Ontario, told yesterday.

In addition, when possible, people may want to “remove any sources of standing water where they live or work, such as in tires,” as mosquitos lay eggs in these locations, Brandon said.

As these insects tend to rest in bushes and shrubs, farmers could also keep these areas “clear of overgrowth and debris,” the Ontario government website states.

Producers can protect themselves by “using insect repellants that contain DEET or icaridin,” Brandon said. 

Individuals who contract West Nile virus may display such symptoms as fevers, headaches, body aches, fatigue and skin rashes, the Public Health Ontario website states. Sometimes, they may also experience nausea and vomiting.

However, only 20 per cent of infected people will display any symptoms. And less than 1 per cent of individuals who contract the disease will “experience severe illness involving the central nervous system,” the agency says.

People who do not show any symptoms “will fight off the infection and won’t have any complications,” Brandon said. “Generally, these people won’t need any testing and will be healthy.”

Since horses are also at risk of becoming infected with the disease, the federal government works with the animal health community to monitor the virus in these large animals, its website says. Farmers can contact their veterinarians to learn about vaccines to prevent West Nile Virus in horses.



nechaev-kon/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo


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