Certain species of mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, which, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain.
With increasing mosquito populations and the detection of West Nile virus within Butte County, the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District urges residents to take all precautions necessary to drain any and all unneeded standing water, report any suspected mosquito-breeding sites and protect themselves from the bites of mosquitoes. In the other 24 states, the virus has only been found in mosquitos, birds or other animals.
Warren County has the most cases so far with eight, according to the Department of Health, followed by Somerset with two.
Between 2003 and last year, Alberta recorded 514 cases of West Nile - although there's been only a handful over the past couple years.
Regardless of the West Nile virus risk level for the area, people are asked to remember there is no such thing as being risk-free from West Nile. Most people who end up with West Nile get it from a mosquito bite.
What Are the Symptoms of West Nile?Due to the high mortality rate of horses that contract the disease, owners are encouraged to make sure their horses are kept current with their West Nile virus vaccinations.
Minor, non-neurological symptoms include fever, chills, nausea and fatigue while serious, neurological symptoms include tremors, drowsiness, unconsciousness, paralysis and even death. This severe illness is more common in those over 60 years of age and those with compromised immune systems.