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MD urges vigilance against West Nile

Despite a significant drop in the number of West Nile cases last summer, Ontario's chief medical officer of health is cautioning people to remain vigilant this long weekend.

Sheela Basrur said it's too soon to tell how active the virus will be this summer. Last year, there were 89 cases of West Nile and two deaths, down from 394 cases and 18 deaths in 2002.

She recommends covering up in light-coloured clothing and applying an insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin.

The virus is most dangerous for people of advanced age or with a serious illness, but severe cases have occurred in healthy adults. Dr. Basrur said children tend not to be so greatly affected. Symptoms include headache, stiff neck, fever, confusion and sudden sensitivity to light.

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