Israel sees increase in West Nile virus since August
Since the beginning of August, Israel has reported some 40 human cases of West Nile virus (WNV), a significant rise in cases according to the Health Ministry. In just the past week, nine new cases have been reported, all in districts with previously reported cases– Central district (3), Haifa (3), Tel Aviv (3). In addition, one case was reported in Palestine, according to European health officials.
According to a Jerusalem Post report today, the bulk of the cases have been reported Rehovot and Ra’anana.
On Monday, Environmental Protection Ministry officials said that inspectors from its pesticides control department have identified mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in several new places over the past two weeks. The latest discoveries of infected mosquitoes occurred at the fish ponds in the northern kibbutz of Sde Eliyahu, in Sderot, in the sewage canal at the northern entrance to the northern city of Baka al-Gharbiya, and at the fish ponds in the northern moshav of Talmei Elazar, the ministry said.
WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can thenspread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite. Rarely, WNV also has spread through transfusions, transplants, and mother-to-child.
Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will display mild symptoms, which appear 3-14 days after getting infected, and include fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms typically last a few days.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, andneurological effects may be permanent. There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Prevention is by avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.
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