West Nile LIKE Virus Hits
Alberta In Westward March

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Scrteening the blood supply was an excellent idea and it is working. Cases of WNV are being identified in prospective blood donors. This translates to lives saved.
Patricia Doyle
First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Found In Asymptomaic Blood Donor
Government Of Alberta News Release
The first case of West Nile virus infection in a human in Alberta has been reported. The young woman is from Calgary and is not exhibiting any of the symptoms of the disease. The infection was identified by a Canadian Blood Services screening test after the young woman donated blood Thu 7 Aug 2003.
The unit of blood has been withdrawn from inventory and the donor will not be eligible to donate blood again for 56 days, at which time the virus will no longer be present in her system. She was contacted immediately and additional blood testing was conducted over the weekend. A positive test was confirmed on Mon 11 Aug 2003.
"Based on the experience of other jurisdictions, we knew it was only a matter of time before West Nile virus would eventually spread to humans in Alberta and now it appears it has," said Dr Brent Friesen, medical officer of health, Calgary Health Region. "Testing by Canadian Blood Services and the Provincial Lab confirm we have our first case. Further testing is being carried out by Health Canada for final confirmation."
"The initial test results show our West Nile virus test is doing exactly what it was designed to do -- help reduce the risk that the virus will enter the blood supply," said Dr Dale Towns, Calgary medical director, Canadian Blood Services. "This case serves as another reminder for people to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes when they are outdoors," said Dr Gloria Keays, associate provincial health officer. "While the risk of infection remains very low, people should take necessary precautions.
Dr Friesen points out that the majority of individuals who contract West Nile virus infection will show no symptoms at all and the infection will run its course. In 15 to 20 per cent of cases, those contracting the virus will suffer from flu-like symptoms, fever, sore muscles and fatigue. In less than one per cent of the cases, victims will experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness, numbness and paralysis. Testing for the West Nile virus infection is not recommended unless people are experiencing the more severe forms of illness.
[Although West Nile virus has been detected already in wild birds, equines, and mosquitoes in Alberta, this report records the most westerly occurrence of West Nile virus infection in the human population in Canada. This report indicates also that as in the United States the screening of blood donations is proving to be the most sensitive indicator of the presence of the virus in the human population. In Canada 2 of the 3 human cases of West Nile virus infection (one in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan) have been asymptomatic blood donors. - Mod.CP]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health




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