Toronto’s Parks and Recreation department says they remain on track to have parts of Toronto Island reopened for visitors by their own July 31 deadline, but the city has identified a problem separate from flood damage as the date approaches.
On Tuesday, city public health officials confirmed that mosquitoes caught in traps had tested positive for West Nile virus, which can cause symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, rashes, and nausea. Although rare, some cases have involved the virus attacking a person’s nervous system.
“It is not only a local problem, as West Nile virus and vector mosquitoes are spread across Toronto and Ontario, but we did want to share this finding with you,” Associate Medical Officer of health Christine Navarro said in an email to Island residents.
Much of the Island was closed to the public earlier this year due to flood conditions and high water levels, with upwards of 50 per cent of the parkland under water at some points. Local businesses have been hit hard by the closures, having lost out of most of the summer season so far.
As for West Nile virus, be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.