With the jump in the mosquito population also comes the worry about contracting West Nile virus from a mosquito, in particular, the Culex tarsalis.

Doctor Lanre Medu is a medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. He explained the Culex mosquito is out and about in the province. It has been found in southern Saskatchewan in various traps. There is some good news, though.

“At this time, West Nile virus hasn’t been seen in Saskatchewan based on the surveillance that has been done,” Dr Medu stated.

This is a relief for many who may have felt the itch from mosquito bites so far this year.

Dr Medu recommended those who are going outdoors to be sure to wear an appropriate insect repellant, such as one with DEET. Additionally, wear long pants, and loose, long fitting sleeves to help prevent getting bitten. The time the mosquitos are most active is from dusk to dawn, so avoiding being outdoors in those time frames helps your chances immensely.

The risk right now of contracting West Nile virus is fairly low, Medu said. This could change, though.

“The risk of being bitten by a West Nile-infected mosquito is low, however, we expect that it’s going to continue to rise as we go further into the month of July and August, and up until early September.”

Around 20 percent of those who contract West Nile show symptoms such as a mild fever or a headache. The majority of people aren’t aware they have West Nile, while less than one percent show serious symptoms such as persistent fever, confusion, neck stiffness and accompanied by a severe headache.

Medu said if you do show symptoms of West Nile virus, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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