City steps up West Nile awareness

The City of Lacombe is reminding residents to take extra precautions against mosquitoes this summer

  • May. 30, 2013 9:00 a.m.

The City of Lacombe is reminding residents to take extra precautions against mosquitoes this summer by continuing with an education program for residents on how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, as well as how to protect themselves and their families against mosquito bites and the risk of West Nile virus infection.

“With the cooperation of everyone in the community we will have better results than a pesticide spray control program, which is quite expensive and does not offer sustainable reduction of adult mosquito populations,” said Parks and Facilities Manager Calvin Bennefield.

Whether gardening, golfing, fishing or even just relaxing outdoors, residents are encouraged to follow these simple tips in order to fight the bite and protect themselves from the West Nile virus:

• Cover up — wear long sleeves and pants, in light colors and loose fitting. Covering up as much as possible as mosquitoes can bite through tight clothes e.g. leggings and jeans. Wear a hat, and consider staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

• Repel — use an effective mosquito repellent. A product with DEET is your best protection. Lemon eucalyptus oil is also effective for shorter periods of time.

• Eliminate — prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Residents and businesses are asked to look at their properties and remove or drain any standing water. Mosquitoes can lay up to 250 eggs at a time in still water (fresh, salty, stagnant), which will start to hatch in seven to 10 days. It only takes a few teaspoons of water for this to happen. If standing water is eliminated weekly, many mosquitoes will be kept from breeding in the first place, eliminating the need to use pesticides against adult mosquitoes. This elimination strategy will reduce the number of mosquitoes around the house and yard.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), humans can develop West Nile Non-Neurological Syndrome (formerly known as West Nile fever) and, occasionally, the more serious West Nile Neurological Syndrome after being bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus.

Some people who become infected with Non-Neurological Syndrome show no symptoms at all; however, the symptoms that could occur can be uncomfortable, including fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin rash, swollen glands and headache. For the small number of individuals who do develop the Neurological Syndrome, infection can lead to tremors, drowsiness, and confusion, swallowing problems, high fever, unconsciousness, paralysis and even death.

AHS warns Albertans not to take the risk of West Nile virus lightly.

In 2012, 386 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Canada.

Ten cases were reported in Alberta in 2012, including one West Nile virus-related death.

For more information and tips, Albertans can visit www.fightthebite.info or call Health Link Alberta, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-5465 (LINK).

– Vossen