Saskatchewan Ministry of Health warns of west nile virus ahead of the long weekend

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health is advising people to prepare for mosquitoes, and more importantly west nile virus.

The peak season for west nile cases is between June and September, but so far in 2019, there have been no confirmed cases.

Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker said there is a certain type of mosquito that lives in Saskatchewan that’s known to carry west nile.

“Culex tarsalis is a small mosquito, it does not buzz around so people do not necessarily know that it is around, and it bites particularly between dusk and dawn,” Dr. Werker said. “So when people are outside from dusk to dawn, they need to take protection against mosquitoes.”

Dr. Werker said it is not recommended to use bug spray on children less than six months old.

“So then the question is; ‘what do you do for your infants of that age?’ And you really do just need to protect them,” Dr. Werker said. “There’s nets that you can get that go over play pens, there are nets that you can get that go over car seats and prams.”

Dr. Werker said approximately one in 150 people who contract west nile could have serious symptoms.

“That illness may present itself as a high fever, headache, loss of consciousness, confusion, muscle weakness, and those are all symptoms related to inflammation of the brain, the spinal cord, or the neuro-systems that go to a limb.”

According to the latest ministry of health west nile surveillance report, there is still a minimal risk of getting the virus across the province.

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