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Tricks to swat away Alberta menace of mosquito-borne West Nile virus

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Lengthy earlier than COVID-19, the specter of mosquito-borne West Nile virus had well being officers in Alberta placing residents on excessive alert.

This week, Alberta Well being Providers (AHS) is solely reminding Albertans to take precautions to guard themselves in opposition to the an infection.

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What’s West Nile virus?

West Nile virus is carried by the Culex tarsalis species, one in every of 40 sorts of mosquitoes. Those that are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus can develop West Nile non-neurological syndrome (previously referred to as West Nile fever) or the extra critical West Nile neurological syndrome.

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Signs of non-neurological syndrome can embody fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pores and skin rash, swollen glands and headache.

AHS has beforehand stated that the majority contaminated by the virus received’t even understand it, whereas about one in 5 will develop West Nile non-neurological syndrome, which may occur as much as 14 days after a chew.

The one in 100 who develop the neurological syndrome might expertise tremors, drowsiness, confusion, swallowing issues, excessive fever, unconsciousness and paralysis. In uncommon circumstances, the an infection might be deadly.

What’s the historical past of West Nile in Alberta?

The primary proof of West Nile virus in Alberta was confirmed in 2003. By the tip of the yr, circumstances surged to 275, most of them in southern Alberta.

Of these, 49 individuals suffered neurological signs similar to numbness and weak spot in limbs. A few of these signs have been everlasting. Nobody in Alberta, at the moment, died from the illness.

From 2003 to 2021, a complete of 541 circumstances of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Alberta, a lot of which have been acquired within the province and weren’t travel-related. Of all these circumstances, 460 have been non-neurological syndrome.

Based on the newest AHS knowledge, Alberta had only one case of West Nile in 2020 in comparison with 4 in 2019 and 50 in 2018, the majority of which have been in southern Alberta.

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Since 2012, Edmonton has recorded only one case, again in 2013.

finest keep away from the virus

Whereas the perfect defence isn’t to be bitten, ideas from AHS for minimizing threat of mosquito bites embody the same old, like sporting long-sleeved, light-coloured shirt, pants and a hat; staying indoors at daybreak and nightfall when mosquitoes are most lively; and utilizing a Well being Canada-approved insect repellant, like merchandise that include DEET or Icaridin.

However, for infants youthful than six months previous, AHS instructs to not use insect repellent containing DEET; a mosquito internet is beneficial when infants are open air in a crib or stroller. For youngsters six months to 2 years previous, the recommendation is to make use of insect repellent solely when there’s a excessive threat of bites that may unfold infections and ailments. It ought to solely be used as soon as a day.

Sunscreen and bug repellent can be utilized collectively, however sunscreen ought to go on first. Repellant needs to be washed away with cleaning soap, as soon as again indoors.

Albertans can study extra about West Nile virus and methods to maintain protected by visiting www.fightthebite.information or calling Well being Hyperlink at 811.