June 13, 2013
Manitoba Health reports that mosquito surveillance activities have commenced in the province for the 2013 season.
At this time the risk of exposure to WNV is low.
In southern Manitoba, anyone can be exposed to an infected Culex tarsalis mosquito during the summer months. Severe illness has occurred in all age groups. Severe illness has occurred more often among older adults or people with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems.
WNV can cause severe illness (West Nile virus neurological syndrome) including encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. The severe illness can be life-threatening and may result in long-term disability. Since 2003, the annual number of severe cases of WNV in Manitoba has ranged from one to 72; WNV-related deaths have ranged from none to four per year.
More people develop a milder illness (West Nile virus Non-neurological Syndrome) with symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, body aches and rash.
Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms and do not become ill.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for WNV. Milder symptoms of WNV Non-neurological Syndrome usually resolve without medical care. Anyone experiencing severe symptoms (ex: persistent high fever, muscle weakness, headache) should seek medical attention promptly for diagnosis and care.
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