Communicable Diseases – West Nile

At Iridia Medical, many of our paramedics work in oil and gas camps in Northern British Columbia, as such, we encourage them to be prepared for whatever they may come across in these remote regions.

Throughout the year, we profile various diseases and afflictions to help further their understanding in the hopes they will be prepared should they come into contact with one of these diseases.

This week we are profiling a known transmissible disease that an individual may encounter in their career as a paramedic, nurse or other health care provider. It is our hope that this profile will allow you to quickly diagnose common or rare diseases should you come across them.

West Nile

The West Nile virus is a disease mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds which carry the virus. It can infect birds, humans, and other animals (including horses, dogs and cats).

The virus is found in both tropical and temperate regions alike and since 2002 the virus has claimed 42 lives in Canada.

west nile cases canadaWest Nile is considered to be the most widely distributed vector-borne disease in North America, and has been detected in B.C.

In most cases, those who have been infected by the virus have no symptoms, or mild flu-like symptoms. For every five people infected with West Nile, one has mild illness usually lasting three to six days. Meningitis or encephalitis develops in about 1 in 50 people who are infected with West Nile, more commonly in those over age 50.

Occasionally the virus can cause serious illness and even death – in up to 4.5 percent of cases.

Research suggests health care providers should be on the lookout for severe muscle weakness as it is a common symptom. Other symptoms can include:

  • Sudden sensitivity to light or an inability to perform routine tasks
  • Extreme swelling or infection at the site of a mosquito bite
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Fever and severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion

Protect Yourself Against Mosquitoes

West Nile

  • Wearing light-coloured, loose fitting clothes with long sleeves and pants when possible
  • Applying DEET-based mosquito repellent
  • Using mosquito nets when mosquito populations are high
  • Emptying any source of standing water (a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes) every two days
  • Removing old tires and cover rain barrels with netting as these can also attract mosquitos
  • Filling in depressions in the ground and check flat roofs for standing water
  • Checking for mosquito larvae in lagoons, dugouts, and standing water on rural properties
  • Avoiding scented lotions or perfumes (mosquitoes are attracted to sweet smells)

James Cameron Would Fit Right in at Iridia

You may have heard about a little deep sea diving event this past weekend, involving a 7-hour solo journey to the deepest known point in Earth’s oceans. Quite the feat considering only two people have ever reached the base of the Mariana Trench before – Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Capt. Don Walsh in 1960.

Who was the lucky or unlucky (depending on your phobias) submariner the third time around? Was it an oceanographer, a marine biologist or a… filmmaker? Wait… What? Did you say filmmaker?

James Cameron

Yes, as it turns out, the man who brought us time-travelling robots also happens to be the third man to ever reach the lowest point in our oceans – James Cameron

It is actually not as strange as it initially seems. Cameron actually has quite an extensive background in oceanography. Over the years he has accumulated 72 deep-sea submersible dives. Thirty-three of those dives have been to the wreckage of the Titanic, a favorite subject of his.

Read more about the spectacular dive here.

He isn’t only a Hollywood director; Cameron is a modern day pioneer and explorer. His personal efforts have led to the development of new 3D filming systems as well as underwater and remote filming technology. He is even on the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory.

James Cameron Dive

James Cameron and Iridia

As a world-renowned director, one would think Cameron would be satisfied, but that is where he stands apart. He understands that innovation is the future. That’s where he ties in so closely with us here at Iridia.

It is not enough to simply be great at what you do. Sometimes you need to create something new to advance your vision and the vision of others around you.

Being satisfied shouldn’t prevent you from moving forward. At Iridia we wouldn’t achieve our vision is we sat back and said “this is good enough.”

Innovation is the key to continued growth and relevance in the marketplace. At Iridia, we constantly look for creative ways to change, solve problems and find solutions, both internally and for our clients.

 “There are many talented people who haven’t fulfilled their dreams because they over thought it, or they were too cautious, and were unwilling to make the leap of faith.” – James Cameron