|Three Calgarians struck with West Nile|
CHR advises use of insect repellent
West Nile virus has struck three Calgarians, including one case of the more serious neurological syndrome, according to the Calgary Health Region.
And while there may seem to be fewer mosquitoes out now, the CHR is warning the public to keep using bug spray as the Culex tarsalis mosquito, which carries the virus, is still going strong.
"We're seeing a persistence of the mosquitoes involved in the transmission of the virus," said Dr. Brent Friesen, medical officer of health for the region.
"Overall the number of mosquitoes is low compared to other parts of the province, but we're trapping large numbers of the ones responsible for West Nile."
There are now a total of 29 reported human cases across Alberta according to the government. Last year's total was 40.
The three Calgary cases were contracted in late July or early August and include men and women, said Friesen.
All are now at home being treated as outpatients, including the case of West Nile neurological syndrome.
The more serious strain of the virus can cause fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness, vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, paralysis and even coma.
Symptoms of the more common variety of West Nile include headaches, body aches, fever, chills, rash and swollen glands.
Calgary's worst year for West Nile was in 2003 with 37 reported cases in the region including nine with the neurological syndrome.
The worst year since then was 2006 with just four cases.
Although cooler weather slows mosquito reproduction, the threat won't completely disappear until the first killing frost of the fall.
The CHR recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET and wearing long-sleeve shirts, pants and a hat while outside especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.