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Saskatchewan Government Advising Residents To Reduce Risk of West Nile Virus

With the summer months also comes mosquitoes. The Saskatchewan Government is advising residents to take steps to prevent mosquito bites as the risk of West Nile Virus is going up.

For most people who become infected with West Nile Virus, they will have no symptoms or have mild illness such as fever, headaches and body aches.  However, a small amount of people develop a more serious illness called West Nile Virus neuroinvasive disease, which can cause inflammation of the brain and may result in death.

Saskatchewan’s Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker says, “the majority of people who get West Nile Virus improve on their own and don’t need laboratory testing or medical attention.”

He adds, “if you develop serious symptoms like a persistent fever, confusion, neck stiffness or an unusually severe headache, seek medical attention immediately.”

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The highest risk is in mid-July to September and the risk is highest in the southern parts of the province.

“Use appropriate insect repellent, cover up and wear light-coloured, loose fitting, long-sleeved tops and long pants when outdoors,” Provincial West Nile Virus Co-ordinator Phil Curry said.

He adds, “also reduce the time spent outside between dusk and dawn when Culex tarsalis are most likely to bite.”

West Nile Virus was first found in Saskatchewan in 2002.  Major outbreaks in humans have occurred in 2003 and 2007.  Between 2003 and 2016, there were 157 cases of West Nile Virus neuroinvasive disease; 17 resulted in death.

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