Who is at Risk?
Anyone can become infected. The majority of infections occur from mosquitoes that bite an infected crow, raven, magpie or jay and then transfer the virus by biting another host.
People over 50 years old or who have compromised immune systems are at highest risk of serious illness.
Animals can also become carriers of West Nile virus. Horses can become seriously ill and die from the disease. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
What are the Symptoms?
Around 80% of people show no symptoms when infected. About 20% of people develop a milder form of the illness. Less than 1% get seriously ill and approximately 0.1% of cases can be fatal.
Symptoms may include: headache, rash, high fever, sensitive eyes, fatigue, neck stiffness, gastrointestinal distress, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma.
Anyone suspected of having West Nile virus should see a doctor. For general health questions related to West Nile virus contact the BC NurseLine.
To reach the BC Nurseline dial 811
Protect Yourself and Your Family
From Spring to Fall look for any standing water. Mosquitoes only need a teaspoon of stagnant water to breed in.
Remove standing water from items such as flower pots, wheelbarrows, old tires, barrels, tin cans, bird baths, swimming pool covers, tarps and wading pools every two days. Check that holes, small depressions, roofs, catch basins, eaves and drains are not collecting stagnant water.
Install screens on your windows and doors and make sure they are secure and have no holes.
Wear light coloured long sleeves and pants when outdoors, especially around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus are most active. Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, PMD or lemon eucalyptus oil as directed on the bottle.
More Information: West Nile Virus | HealthLink BC