Central Aberta woman contracts virus

A Central Alberta woman is one of four Albertans who have contracted the mosquito-carrying West Nile virus this summer.

A Central Alberta woman is one of four Albertans who have contracted the mosquito-carrying West Nile virus this summer.

Alberta Health Services reported on Tuesday that it has confirmed three new cases since Aug. 21, the day when the province announced its first case of the virus infection involving a woman from Southern Alberta.

The cases are Alberta’s first human case of West Nile virus infection reported since 2010.

The woman, who lives in Central Zone, is under 65.

She has developed a neurological syndrome as a result, the more serious form.

Her exposure history is unconfirmed.

Central Zone includes Stettler, Rocky Mountain House, and Red Deer.

The three others from Calgary Zone, North Zone and South Zone have contracted non-neurological syndrome, formerly known as West Nile fever.

Individuals who develop non-neurological syndrome may experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin rash, swollen glands and headaches.

The small number of those who develop neurological syndrome may experience tremours, drowsiness, confusion, swallowing problems, high fever, unconsciousness, paralysis and even death.

Alberta Health Services says it will not release further details about Alberta’s human West Nile virus cases for confidentiality reasons.

“West Nile virus infection can cause severe illness with debilitating, lifelong effects,” said Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical officer of health for AHS.

“I strongly encourage all Albertans to make a healthy habit of fighting the bite.”

Albertans are encouraged to wear insect repellent with DEET, wear long-sleeved, light-coloured shirts and pants, wear a hat, and consider staying indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

For more information, go online at www.fightthebite.info or call Health Link Alberta toll-free seven days a week, 24 hours a day, at 1-866-408-5465 (LINK).

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