California serogroup viruses detected in NWT mosquitoes

Beware this bug season. (Supplied by Pexels.)
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Mosquitoes in the territory could be more than an annoyance, as some mosquitoes have been found to contain diseases normally found further south.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer has sent out a warning to regional health offices that California serogroup viruses have been detected in insects in the NWT, after results were returned from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ mosquito surveillance.

Experts believe that due to climate change, mosquitoes have longer to become infectious, which could lead to diseases being spread further. 

“The viruses are found throughout Canada and the United States and spread through the bite of an infected mosquito,” Umesh Sutendra, a spokesperson for Health and Social Services, said in a statement. 

“The risk of getting the virus is low, and those who do get it usually do not develop symptoms, however severe illness though rare can occur.”

While the risk of infection is low and side effects are rare, Sutendra added there can be serious side effects, including neurological disease in rare cases.

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