Man dies from West Nile virus in Manitoba

A man in his 80s has died as a result of West Nile virus in Manitoba.
Manitoba Health believes a man in his 80s, who died from West Nile virus, contracted it in the Interlake-Eastern Health Region during the first half of August. (Canadian Press)

A man in his 80s has died as a result of West Nile virus in Manitoba.

It is the first death reported since January 2008 and the eighth death since the province began collecting information on the virus, according to Manitoba Health.

The man, a resident of the Interlake-Eastern Health Region, had West Nile virus neurological syndrome, a rare but more serious condition caused by the virus, Manitoba Health stated in a news release.

It is believed he was exposed to the virus in that health region during the first half of August.

The province is not being more specific about the area or releasing any more information on the man in order to protect his privacy.

Human cases of West Nile virus were first reported in Manitoba in 2003.

The province previously reported this year's first human case of infection on Aug. 22, involving a woman in her 40s who experienced mild symptoms.

Dr. Margaret Fast is the medical officer of health for Manitoba. 

She said the risk of being exposed to the virus is low at this time of year, but it isn’t eliminated.

"There are still some culex tarsalis out there, but they are at the end of their biting season as well, though," she said. "We are at the tail end of the season, but we are still advising people to take precautions."

With shorter days and cooler temperatures, mosquitoes are more likely to bite late in the afternoon and early in the evening.

Fast said some people will only experience symptoms days after being exposed.

"You may develop some fever and maybe a bit of nausea, maybe you just feel unwell and under the weather," she said, adding it could feel similar a flu-like illness.

The province is advising people to cover up and use insect repellent when outdoors to protect themselves.

There will continue to be a risk of exposure to the virus until the weather becomes colder or until the first hard frost.