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AHS warns residents to protect themselves against West Nile Virus

It is no question that mosquitoes go hand-in-hand with Peace country summer. If the weather continues as warm and dry as it has in the past few weeks, Integrated Pest Management Coordinator with the City of Grande Prairie Jim Donnelly says the mosquito population should stay down. Areas that will almost always have mosquitoes are ones with long grass or places that don’t dry out entirely like the Bear Creek corridor or the Crystal Lake area.

“The best way to protect yourself is to wear long sleeves when you can, I know when it is hot you don’t want to. You can put on insect repellent and follow the label directions. Understand that you are putting chemicals on your skin, keep that in mind, particularly when it comes to children.”

Donnelly explains that they work on control within the city stretching out to about 3 to 5 kilometres outside the city. He says the biggest struggle has been the annexed areas that have never been treated.

“On the range roads the numbers are quite staggering. We largely have that under control. We have been out about three times after big rain events. We have a pretty good handle on what is going on in our zone.”

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Alberta Health Services says some mosquitoes do carry West Nile Virus and it is best to take preventative measures like the long sleeved clothing. After being bitten by a mosquito, they say humans can develop the non-neurological which is formerly known as West Nile fever or the Neurological Syndrome. The more serious one being the Neurological Syndrome which can bring symptoms like tremors, drowsiness, confusion, high fever, unconsciousness, paralysis and even death.

AHS says between 2003 to 2015 there were 680 cases of the virus confirmed in Alberta

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