West Nile Virus-Carrying Mosquitoes Found In Southern Israel
Mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus have been identified in Israel’s southern Arava region, the country’s Environmental Protection Ministry announced on Wednesday.
“The mosquitos were found along Route 90 in the communities of Yotvata, Paran and Elipaz, located just north of Eilat. Local leaders were instructed to closely monitor the situation and if required “immediately carry out preventive measures and pest control,” said the ministry.
In May, mosquitos carrying West Nile were found near the southern city of Yeruham and the surrounding Ramat Negev Regional Council. West Nile generally causes flu-like symptoms that last about a week, but in some cases can be fatal. An Israeli died from the virus in August 2022.
In 2020, mosquitos carrying West Nile virus were found as far as north as the Tel Aviv area, and two years earlier dozens of Israelis were hospitalized in a major outbreak.
The mosquito-borne disease presents a wide range of symptoms, such as headaches, fever, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, skin rash, and occasionally, nausea and diarrhea. In a few cases, there is a potential for brain infection, leading to paralysis, cognitive impairment, and even death according to Xinhua.
While most people (80%) who are infected with West Nile Virus do not develop any symptoms, approximately one-fifth will be symptomatic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 out of every 150 people who are infected with West Nile Virus will develop serious or fatal illness according to Israel Nation News.
According to , “For every case of the illness that requires hospitalization, there are four cases that are not diagnosed as West Nile fever and another 140 cases in which no symptoms of the disease appear,” said Dr. Emilia Anis, the deputy head of the Health Ministry’s epidemiology department, in a post on the Haretz.
In light of the most recent discovery, the Environment Ministry proposed that the local regional council spray the area in an effort to reduce the mosquito population.
“We call on the public to reduce watering, dry standing water, close window screens in houses, turn on fans and apply insect repellants,” said Dr. Gal Zagron, the ministry’s director of the Pest and Control Division.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich