The West Nile Virus is now present in Moose Jaw and Southern Areas. The Saskatchewan Health Authority announced that they had found mosquitoes which tested positive for the virus. The virus is carried by a species of mosquitoes called Culex Tarsalis.
Yesterday, we reported on the first human case of the West Nile Virus for this year. It’s about a ten-year-old child from Manitoba, who lives in the Southern Health region.
Dr. Mark Vooght, who is the Medical Health Officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority explains that this weekend’s warm weather could increase the number of pests flying in the area:
“There is a moderate risk because of the heat; the heat index is quite high at the moment as we know there has been recent rain so we might see an upsurge in the number of Culex Tarsalis mosquitoes in the next few days.”
He continues explaining that residents usually go out and do activities, and he just wants them to be cautious:
“What we are saying is that going into the long weekend where people are active out and about camping, hiking, and biking and all that good stuff which we really want people to do is that just to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes this weekend and probably quite far into August.”
A way to protect yourself from mosquitoes is to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts and apply mosquito repellent while being in the outdoors.
Symptoms of the West Nile Virus
Dr. Vooght explains that the symptoms have fallen in the last years, but they sometimes happen to some people:
“In 2003 and 2007 we had a lot of nervous or neurological patients in Saskatchewan but since then it has dropped off quite dramatically. We don’t see much of that anymore, but it is possible.”
Common symptoms can be similar to the flu: shakes, muscle pain, aches and fever, and sometimes the can become severe. The people at risk of severe symptoms are the elderly and the ones with a weak immune system.
Dr. Vooght also said that five pools are positive with the virus and one of the areas affected is the Assiniboia area.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.