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first_imgHEALTH–First Probable Human Case of West Nile Virus in NovaScotia Linked to Travel Health officials announced today, Aug. 21, that a man from theCapital Health District has the province’s first probable humancase of West Nile virus. It is believed that he became infectedduring recent travel to an area of the United States where thereare human cases. “Preliminary test results were positive, but final test resultsto confirm West Nile virus won’t be available for a few weeks,”said Dr. Maureen Baikie, associate medical officer of health forthe province. “The individual went to outpatients withneurological symptoms, has been treated on an outpatient basis,and is doing very well.” Dr. Baikie said that this case poses no health risk to NovaScotians. West Nile virus cannot be transmitted from person toperson, other than through the blood system. The individual isnot a recent blood donor, and Canadian Blood Services hassafeguards in place to protect the blood system. “This probable case shows that our human surveillance system isworking,” said Dr. Baikie. “We have seen no West Nile virusactivity in the province despite extensive testing. That fact,combined with the person’s recent travel history to an area withWest Nile virus activity, makes us confident that the disease wasacquired outside of the province.” West Nile virus is spread to people through bites from mosquitoesthat carry the virus. Nova Scotia travellers should check on WestNile virus activity in areas that they are travelling through orto. In areas where there are positive birds, mosquito pools orhuman cases, people should reduce the risk of mosquito bites bywearing loose fitting clothing that covers as much skin aspossible, and using insect repellant containing DEET according tothe instructions on the bottle. Physicians across the province have been informed of the symptomsof West Nile virus and are required to report any suspected casesof human infection. Anyone who demonstrates the more severesymptoms of the disease — which include a severe headache, highfever, stiff neck, muscle weakness and neurological symptoms –should seek medical attention. The public is urged to continue reporting dead crows, blue jaysand ravens to local offices of the Department of NaturalResources. Staff can then determine whether the bird is suitablefor West Nile virus testing. More than 600 birds have been testedfor the virus so far this season. Information on West Nile virus and prevention is available on theDepartment of Health Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/health .Information on West Nile virus activity throughout Canada can befound at Health Canada’s Web site atwww.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/westnile/index.html. Information on thevirus in the United States can be found atwww.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.last_img read more

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