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West Nile virus infection remains a threat

Alberta Health Services reminds Fort Macleod and Granum residents 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 for the south zone. “Because some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, it’s important to avoid being bitten at all.”
When outdoors people should take these steps to prevent bites and protect themselves from West Nile virus:

  • Wear a long-sleeved, light-colored 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,” Suttorp said.
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 tremors, 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 in the province.
More information is at www.fightthebite.info or by calling Health Link at 811.

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