Alberta Health Services reminding locals to protect themselves from West Nile infection

By Aaron Mahoney (@Mahones93 on Twitter)
July 10, 2018 - 1:43pm

LETHBRIDGE – From 2003 to 2017, 514 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Alberta, many of which were acquired here in the province.

With the summertime bringing about a higher number of mosquitoes in the province, Alberta Health Services wants to remind Albertans to take precautions necessary to protect themselves against West Nile virus infection.

Lead Medical Officer of Health for the South Zone, Dr. Vivien Suttorp, says with exposure to mosquitoes comes the risk of West Nile virus.

“Because some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, it’s important to avoid being bitten at all.”

In a release, AHS state whenever engaging in outdoor activities, or even just relaxing outside following a few simple steps can prevent bites:

-    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,” Dr. Suttorp added.

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. 

Symptoms can be much more severe for anyone who develops Neurological Syndrome, including tremors, drowsiness, confusion, swallowing problems, high fever, unconsciousness, paralysis and even death.

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