West Nile virus risk increases as summer heats up

A public service press release encouraging awareness of the West Nile virus.

As temperatures rise so does the risk of West Nile virus. The mosquito species most likely to carry the virus is more active and more likely to spread the virus towards the end of July and into August.

West Nile virus is a disease that is spread from infected corvid birds (crows, ravens, magpies, and jays) to humans through mosquito bites. It was first detected in B.C. in the South Okanagan during the summer of 2009. To date there have been four cases acquired in B.C.—all in the Okanagan.

Though 80 per cent of people infected with West Nile virus will not get sick, about 20 per cent of people will have mild to moderate illness that starts three to 14 days after being infected.

Symptoms of West Nile virus may include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and sometimes a rash on the body. These symptoms generally last about one week, but they can last much longer. Less than one per cent of people infected with the West Nile virus can experience more serious illnesses and in very rare cases West Nile virus can result in death.

Any activity that prevents mosquitoes from biting or breeding can help to reduce the risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus.

 

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