August 23, 2009

First West Nile cases found in west Canada

The first British Columbian cases of West Nile felled two adults near Kelowna in South Okanagan County, Canadian health officials said Monday.

The virus was found in a group of mosquitoes caught in testing traps around South Okanagan, Dr. Bonnie Henry of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control said at a press conference Saturday.

Health officials told The Vancouver Sun the two people who came down with the disease were members of the same family and in their late 40s. They went to their family doctor with some of the less severe symptoms of West Nile, including fever, headaches, muscle aches and sensitivity to light.

The previous 40 cases of West Nile victims found in British Columbia were in people who had traveled to outside areas where the virus was more prevalent.

The patients live in Kelawna, but traveled around the South Okanagan county near where the mosquitoes with the virus were found.

Health officials believe the virus came from the south. Washington state has seen 207 positive mosquito tests this year as well as seven infected birds and 12 infected horses.