Brooks woman first human case of 2007

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 by the Palliser Region 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 across the province 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 says warm evening provide excellent conditions for those types of mosquitoes to grow in numbers.

“Although getting West Nile is less likely here, we can’t quantify the approach people need to take to take appropriate action,” said Predy.

The blood-sucking pests only need temperatures to stay above the 15C at night for mating, but cases of human West Nile are largely confined to the southern areas of the province, says Capital Health.

Predy recommends using repellents that contain DEET as the best method in keeping mosquitoes away.

last year’s record

  • Alberta recorded 40 human cases last year, with only one patient being diagnosed with West Nile neurological syndrome.

  • About 70 per cent of the cases last year were patients from the Palliser Health Region, which covers Medicine Hat, Bassano, Brooks and Redcliff.