In Saskatchewan, Canada, there has been a drier year than the previous one. As many might think, that would mean that there are fewer water pools for the mosquitoes to lay eggs in and reproduce in large numbers. Thus, there is a lower risk of getting West Nile virus. But, Dr. Johnmark Opondo from the Saskatchewan Health Authority thinks that a more substantial part of the Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in the area is carrying the virus, which might lead to more infections than in 2017.
“In fact, I would argue that the risk of West Nile in 2018 might be higher than in 2017,” the SHA doctor stated. Also, he added that Culex tarsalis mosquitoes behave considerably different than the common mosquitoes that carry West Nile.
“It’s a much quieter mosquito, and it’s smaller than the usual mosquitoes we see in May and June. It usually is sort of an ankle or leg biter, and it bites at particular periods at dusk and at dawn,” explained Dr. Opondo.
The risk of contracting West Nile virus could be higher in 2018 than 2017
The West Nile virus is a potential trigger factor of severe diseases, the main route of transmission among humans being the sting of mosquitoes. Usually, patients develop symptoms after 3 to 14 days of contacting the virus. Generally, 80 people out of 100 who have West Nile have no signs.
The mild symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, lack of appetite, pain in the whole body, rash, usually on the chest, and swelling of the lymph nodes. Also, in general, one in 150 cases can experience a severe form of the disease which can lead to encephalitis, myelitis or meningitis.
These complications manifest themselves by a severe headache, high fever, confusion, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and coma.
In short, the risk of contracting West Nile virus might be higher in 2018 than 2017, according to an SHA doctor, Dr. Johnmark Opondo, despite it is a drier year, as more Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are carrying the virus this year.