Alberta has recorded its first human case of the West Nile virus this year after a woman from Brooks was infected by a mosquito and diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease.
Dr. Shainoor Virani, an acting deputy chief medical officer for the province, said seeing Alberta’s first human case is not unexpected, especially given the warmer than normal temperatures.
“While the risk of infection with West Nile virus is low, the effects of the infection can be serious,” Virani said, adding the Brooks woman was diagnosed after showing flu-like symptoms.
“Taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites will reduce the risk of infection and those more serious consequences.”
Symptoms of the virus can include more severe headaches, neck stiffness, vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, paralysis and comas in more extreme and rare cases.
Scorching weather in Edmonton could also offer better than usual breeding grounds for the type of mosquitoes known to carry the West Nile virus, says Capital Health’s medical officer.
Gerry Predy, medical officer of health for Capital Health, says warm evenings provide excellent conditions for those types of mosquitoes to grow. He recommends using repellents with DEET to keep mosquitoes away.