The Alberta Health Services says that a woman under the age of 65 has contracted West Nile virus, the first case of the disease in the province since 2010.

Dr. David Strong, the AHS' Acting South Zone Medical Officer of Health, says the woman contracted the Non-Neurological syndrome form of the virus.

Strong says the case is an important one.

"This individual has not travelled outside Alberta this season, meaning she was bitten by an infected mosquito right here in our province. This is an unfortunate reminder that some mosquitoes do carry West Nile Virus, so it's simply best to avoid being bitten at all."

According to the AHS website, West Nile virus is a mosquito borne illness that can cause West Nile Non-Neurological syndrome (formerly known as West Nile Fever).

Severe illness related to the disease is rare, but the risk increases with age.

Strong suggests the following measures:

  • wear mosquito repellent with DEET
  • wear long-sleeved, light-coloured shirts and pants
  • wear a hat
  • consider staying indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active

In 2011, 102 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Canada.

34 human cases have been confirmed in Canada this year alone.

No cases were reported in Alberta during that time.

People who develop West Nile may experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin rash, swollen glands, and headache.

A smaller number of people experience more serious symptoms such as tremors, drowsiness, confusion, swallowing problems, high fever, unconsciousness, paralysis, and even death.

We'll have more details on the CTV News at Noon.