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West Nile Virus strikes Toronto for first time this year

This undated photo provided by the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District shows a Culex pipiens, left, the primary mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus to humans, birds and other animals. It is produced from stagnant water. The bite of this mosquito is very gentle and usually unnoticed by people. At right is an Aedes vexans, primarily a nuisance mosquito produced from freshwater. It is a very aggressive biting mosquito but not an important transmitter of disease.

Courtesy of the Northwestern Mosquito Abatement District/AP

Toronto Public Health is reporting two probable cases of West Nile Virus in the city.

An 80-year-old man has been hospitalized and a 32-year-old female who is recovering at home.

These are the first cases of human West Nile virus in Toronto this year.  The results will be confirmed by a second laboratory test likely by the end of next week, associate medical officer Dr. Howard Shapiro said on Thursday.

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Toronto Public Health reported on Wednesday that higher numbers of mosquitoes were testing positive for the West Nile Virus.

The infection can develop into a flu-like illness that on rare occasions can lead to death. Symptoms include a stiff neck, headache and sensitivity to light. West Nile virus is spread from birds to people by mosquitoes.

The last death in Toronto from the virus was in 2005.

There were 110 human cases of West Nile virus in the country last year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada's website.

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