Recent rainfall raises spectre of West Nile virus

Recent rain in Central Alberta may not have dampened summer festivities but it does make for ideal mosquito breeding grounds.

Recent rain in Central Alberta may not have dampened summer festivities but it does make for ideal mosquito breeding grounds.

More than just an itchy bother, mosquitoes can also carry strains of West Nile virus.

Although there are no reports of West Nile in the province, Alberta Health Services has issued information on how people should protect themselves after cases were detected in neighbouring provinces.

Alberta Health Services Central Zone Medical Officer Dr. Digby Horne said on Friday that there is a risk for cases in Alberta.

“I know that Canadian Blood Services recently identified cases in Ontario and Manitoba and I haven’t heard of any cases in Alberta at this time but theoretically the potential is there,” he said.

Culex tarsalis, the principal mosquito carrying the infection, typically has population peaks in the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August.

Horne said that no mosquito testing is done in Alberta, however, bird deaths may be investigated for West Nile and other illnesses.

First detected in Alberta 10 years ago, West Nile virus is believed to have originated in Africa. It made its way to North America by infected birds nesting on the East Coast. Over the last decade, the disease has gradually spread across the continent.

After being bitten by an infected mosquito, a person can become infected with West Nile Non-Neurological Syndrome. Symptoms include, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, rashes on the skin, swollen glands and headache.

In more serious cases, symptoms include tremors, drowsiness, confusion, difficulty swallowing, high fever and death.

This is why Alberta Health Services continues to remind the public about taking precautionary measures such as wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET and wearing long-sleeved, light-coloured shirts and pants. People should also consider staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

In 2011, 102 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Canada.

For more information, visit www.fightthebite.info or call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New Brunswick setback shows caution needed when reopening, Tam says

The COVID-19 cluster that has forced New Brunswick to roll back some… Continue reading

Trump preparing order targeting social media protections

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order… Continue reading

Downtown businesses will miss RDC students

Donald School of Business moving to main campus

Legal experts weigh in on Meng Wanzhou decision from B.C. Supreme Court

VANCOUVER — A loss in court for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has… Continue reading

Kelowna man arrested for murder of Alberta man

A second man is also wanted in connection with the first degree murder of Cody Michaloski

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Opinion: Fix the long-term care horror

There’s a long-term-care crisis in Canada that is crying out for short-term,… Continue reading

NWSL returning to play with summertime tournament in Utah

Pro soccer returns to the U.S. next month when the National Women’s… Continue reading

Hockey Canada cancels summer camps, going virtual with training camps

CALGARY — Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that it has cancelled all… Continue reading

NASA chief “all in” for Tom Cruise to film on space station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is rolling out the International Space Station’s… Continue reading

CTV drama ‘Cardinal’ leads Canadian Screen Awards TV pack with seven wins

TORONTO — Three shows that have left the air for good in… Continue reading

If an MP heckles in a virtual House of Commons, does it make a sound?

If an MP heckles in a virtual House of Commons, does it make a sound?

Most Read