Ward off West Nile during summer months

They can be annoying and pesky with their high-pitched whine and sharp bite but mosquitoes can also pose a threat to an individual’s health.
The West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes and can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

By Eraina Hooyer

Staff Reporter

They can be annoying and pesky with their high-pitched whine and sharp bite but mosquitoes can also pose a threat to an individual’s health.

The West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes and can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The Fight the Bite campaign is working to educate the public about the precautions they can take to prevent getting the West Nile virus.

The first signs of the virus in Alberta was confirmed in July 2003 and was found in mosquitoes, birds, horses and humans in the province.

“We know that it’s here and that it causes symptoms,” said Scott Budgell assistant for Dr. Martin Lavoie DTHR medical officer of health. “There are a few things people can do to help them not get the virus.”

The West Nile virus usually will not cause symptoms but it is possible that a mild illness can occur three to 15 days after being bitten. Common symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen glands.

It is rare that an individual will experience the more sever symptoms of the West Nile neurological syndrome.

The most effective method of prevention is to avoid mosquito bites by using a mosquito repellent that contains DEET and also by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when going outside. For those that do not favour DEET Budgell says that oil of lemon eucalyptus is also effective in repelling mosquitoes.

“It’s not good to panic about the West Nile virus,” said Budgell. “We want to put things in perspective, if you take a few little precautions it will give you the protection that you need.”

The risk of getting the virus in Alberta is slim and even in other provinces where there is the virus, only a small number of mosquitoes will carry the virus and only a few people bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus will develop a serious illness.

Budgell says that although West Nile is not an issue in Alberta yet, that it is important to still be aware, especially when it comes to seniors.

“The older you are the more chances there are to get the severe symptoms of the virus and we have seen that,” he said.

In addition to seniors, Budgell says that pregnant women also should be careful when it comes to mosquitoes and West Nile because it is able to affect the baby.

“Not only do you have to protect yourself but you have to protect your little one as well,” he said. “Same goes for parents, it’s important to take the precautions with your children.”

Precautions for small children include placing a mosquito net over strollers when outside and putting on the right amount of repellent.

Budgell also suggests going in the backyard and finding places where standing water can collect and cleaning out places, such as eaves troughs that can clog and trap water.

“Mosquitoes that are biting you in your own yard could be coming from your own yard,” he said.

Mosquito surveillance began on June 22 and 11 mosquito pools were recently tested at various locations throughout the province showing no positive pools to date and no human cases have been reported.

For more information visit www.health.alberta.ca.

Just Posted

Ponoka County fire crews handle second baler fire in 12 hours

Fire crews handled a baler fire just west of Gull Lake

WCPS uses cannabis legislation to fully review drug, alcohol and tobacco policies

Cannabis is not permitted in schools; WCPS focused on providing education and support

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Ponoka mayor & council takes on province for recreation funding

Mayor Rick Bonnett wants school requisition for three years

Ponoka County on the hook for rubber tire shredder

Cost of large shredder may yet fall completely on county as problems arise

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Ponoka County resident has some fun with stuffed deer

The stuffed deer appears to have a toy gun keeping an eye on the road

Ponoka County fire crews handle second baler fire in 12 hours

Fire crews handled a baler fire just west of Gull Lake

Money Monitor: Should you switch to a fixed-rate mortgage?

BMO’s Omar Abouzaher outlines the pros and cons of both types of mortgages

Red Deer RCMP at Coronation Park for sudden death investigation

Citizen reported seeing a deceased male on an embankment by the north bridge

Black market will thrive until small pot growers and sellers included: advocates

Advocates say the black market will continue to thrive until small retail shops and craft growers are included in the regime.

Goodbye cable, hello Netflix: 1/3 of Canadians cut the cord

Just under half of households no longer have a landline phone

‘Some baloney’ in assertion Canada’s pension fund has highest ethical standards

The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney”.

In Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael, some coming home find no home

State emergency management officials said some 124,500 customers across the Panhandle were still without power Wednesday morning and 1,157 remained in shelters.

Most Read