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  Weekly Feature: (September 21, 2003)


West Nile Virus, A Real Danger
Brad's Weekly Feature



About two weeks ago, I received some startling news. My uncle, a farmer living in the south-eastern corner of Alberta, had tested positive for the West Nile Virus. Although he is 80 years old, he is still a strong man used to many physical dangers; however, he was unprepared for the danger posed by a tiny mosquito. (UPDATE: My uncle has recovered and is resting at home! A very lucky and tough man.)

Like all farmers, my uncle works outside during mosquito season. A mosquito bite on him does not even raise a welt, since he has long ago become immune to them. He thus did not take any extra precautions this August and so became infected with West Nile. Unfortunately, he is now in intensive care and fighting for his life.

Some of you may say that, as a city dweller in Vancouver, I have nothing to fear from this virus. To you I would say that the most common mosquito carrier is also the most common urban mosquito! This year (2003) there have been no reported cases in birds (a carrier of the virus) in British Columbia; however, if you look at the Western Canada Infected Birds for 2003 you can see that it is only a matter of time before we will be affected, too.

What can we do to protect and inform ourselves before the 2004 mosquito season? I have researched a number of resources on the Web to help you get ready for West Nile, surely arriving in 2004 or 2005 in British Columbia.

Protect Yourself and Your Family
Helpful hints from the Government of Canada. Includes information on how each of us can help by, for example, reducing the number of places where mosquitoes can breed in our cities. Did you know a mosquito can breed in a thimbleful of water?

Symptoms of the West Nile Virus
Although most people younger than 50 are not seriously affected, some are. Did you know that, even if you recover successfully from the virus, you might have severe and ongoing health problems, particularly related to your brain?


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Time Management and Study Skills

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