Only a small fraction of those who are bitten develop a serious illness, but it can be fatal.
Peak West Nile virus season is winding down in Canada, but it’s not over yet. If you’re spending time outdoors and you’re around forested areas, it could be a good idea to slap on some repellent, at least into October, (or before it snows, whichever comes first).
West Nile Virus first came to Canada in 2002, and experts say that it’s probably here to stay. It can be fatal and cause flu-like symptoms in some. It can also develop into neurological effects and paralysis.
The good news is that not everyone who is bitten by a mosquito infected with the virus will develop any symptoms at all. In fact, only 1% of those who do get West Nile virus go on to develop a severe illness.
Experts estimate that in any given part of the county, less than 1% of mosquitoes are carrying the virus.
Unfortunately, it’s not known how the illness survives the winter in Canada. It’s also not known which exact mosquito species carries the virus, all of which makes it hard for scientists to target the disease and get rid of it from season to season.
The idea of contracting West Nile may seem frightening. It’s good to keep the risk in perspective, however. The flu virus is responsible for about 4,000 deaths in the country each year, whereas some years not 1 death is attributed to West Nile nationwide.
For further information on West Nile, click here.