10 West Nile cases confirmed in Alberta

Health officials say 10 cases of West Nile Virus have now been confirmed in southern Alberta this summer.

5 cases reported from mid- to late-August

The government of Saskatchewan has issued a warning about increased risk of West Nile Virus. (University of Notre Dame, James Gathany/AP)

Health officials say 10 cases of West Nile virus have now been confirmed in southern Alberta this summer.

Five of the cases were reported from mid- to late-August, with the most recent one involving a man in his 40s.

West Nile can lead to neurological disease and is spread by mosquitoes.

Health officials say about 20 per cent of cases are non-neurological, and only about 1 in 150 is neurological.

Symptoms of non-neurological syndrome include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin rash, swollen glands and headache.

Severe neurological syndrome is rare, but can lead to death.

Alberta Health Services say nine out of the 10 confirmed cases are non-neurological. Most individuals who are exposed show no symptoms.

Health officials are reminding all Albertans, particularly seniors, to take precautions when enjoying the outdoors:

  • Wear long-sleeved light-coloured shirts, pants and socks.
  • Make sure door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors.
  • Reduce standing water sites around your home (bird baths, toys, flower pot saucers, swimming pool covers, etc.).
  • Apply an approved mosquito repellent with DEET to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Avoid going out at dawn and at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Ensure rain barrels are covered at all times.

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