About the virus

West Nile virus (WNv) is mainly an infection of birds that is spread to humans and other animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become carriers of this virus by taking a blood meal from an infected bird.

Testing has shown that very few mosquitoes actually carry the virus and there is no evidence of people catching WNv from an infected person or animal through regular contact. Illness from WNv is more common in horses but it can also affect a small number of people.

Whereas nearly all people bitten by an infected mosquito build natural resistance to WNv and remain healthy, a small number may experience flu-like symptoms. In rare cases a person can develop an infection of the central nervous system that can lead to paralysis or death.

Did you know?

West Nile virus arrived in Edmonton in 2003.