Two birds test positive for West Nile virus in B.C.

Two birds test positive for West Nile virus in B.C.

Last year, only 10 municipalities reported cases of the virus which has infected at least 77 people from May 31 until August 20, claiming five lives in Attiki alone.

Another six municipalities in Attica were added to the areas that have reported cases of the West Nile virus.

It's working with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Canadian Blood Services to monitor virus activity, including screening the blood supply and reporting human and animal cases.

Most people who contract West Nile won't show any symptoms, but some signs of illness include sore joints, nausea and a headache. The risk of becoming seriously ill is low for most people; however, people over the age of 50 and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk. However, you should not use bare hands to handle wild birds.

West Nile usually spreads between birds and mosquitos, and some Canadians have caught the virus from mosquito bites.

Officials are urging horse owners to ensure their animal's vaccine and boosters are up to date.

The first North American cases of West Nile were detected in New York City in 1999 and since then, it has established itself in the continental United States and Canada, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control says.

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Prevent mosquito breeding around your home. Stagnant backyard pools can be a big source of mosquitoes and should be maintained regularly.

Avoid activities outside at dusk and dawn.

Wear loose fitting, light-coloured clothing, full-length trousers, and a long-sleeved shirt.

Install screens on all windows.

Earlier this week, tests confirmed that mosquitoes carrying the virus were found in coastal areas, including the Menashe Regional Council, Alona Regional Council, Pardes Hannah, Binyamina and Caesarea.

Use mosquito repellent on exposed skin.

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