November 19th, 2018

West Nile concerns arrive with summer


By Kuhl, Nick on July 11, 2018.

Lethbridge Herald

Alberta Health Services is reminding Albertans to take necessary precautions to protect themselves against West Nile virus infection.

“With exposure to mosquitoes comes risk of West Nile virus,” said Dr. Vivien Suttorp, lead Medical Officer of Health, South Zone, in a news release Tuesday. “Because some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, it’s important to avoid being bitten at all.”

AHS says whenever engaging in outdoor activities, or even just relaxing outside, all Albertans should take these simple steps to prevent bites and protect themselves from West Nile virus:

– Wear a long-sleeved, light-coloured shirt, pants, and a hat.

– Use insect repellent with DEET.

– Consider staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

“These steps can make it harder for mosquitoes to find you, and remember: if mosquitoes can’t find you, they can’t bite you,” said Suttorp.

After being bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus, humans can develop West Nile Non-Neurological Syndrome (formerly known as West Nile fever) or the more serious West Nile Neurological Syndrome.

Symptoms of Non-Neurological Syndrome can be uncomfortable, including fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin rash, swollen glands and headache. For those individuals who do develop Neurological Syndrome, symptoms can be much more severe, including tremours, drowsiness, confusion, swallowing problems, high fever, unconsciousness, paralysis and even death.

From 2003 to 2017, 514 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Alberta, many of which were acquired here in the province. Albertans can learn more about West Nile virus and the precautions necessary to reduce risk at http://www.fightthebite.info or by calling Health Link at 811.

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