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People reminded to take precautions against West Nile Virus

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People in Grande Prairie are being reminded to protect themselves against biting mosquitos that can carry the West Nile Virus. Alberta Health Services issued the warning for the North Zone which houses the Grande Prairie area.

“With exposure to mosquitoes comes the risk of West Nile virus. Because some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, it’s important to avoid being bitten at all,” says North Zone Medical Officer of Health Dr. Albert de Villiers.

From 2003 to 2018, 532 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Alberta, many of which were caught in the province and weren’t travel related.

After being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, humans can catch West Nile non-neurological syndrome or the more serious West Nile neurological syndrome.

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Symptoms of non-neurological syndrome can include sickness and skin rashes and neurological syndrome can cause confusion, paralysis or death.

If you plan to go outside, AHS says to wear a long sleeve, light coloured shirt, pants and a hat. It also recommends using an approved insect repellant and to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active.

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