There have been four cases -- one diagnosed and one highly suspected -- of West Nile fever in Israel this year, but the actual “season” begins now, as the weather heats up.
Last year, there 149 reported cases of West Nile reported. Although there have been no Israeli deaths so far either this year or in 2015, the mosquito-born disease several years ago did have a human death toll.
The Health Ministry urged the public to take measures to prevent being bitten by infected mosquitoes: Dry up or report to the authorities standing water (even a bucket of water); put screens on windows; use anti-mosquito products; and wear long-sleeved, light clothing in areas with the bugs, especially when they circulate from sundown to sunrise.
The fever is usually a self-limiting, light, flu-light infection with fever, headaches, weakness, joint and muscle pain, rashes and red eyes, and often nausea and diarrhea. But in one percent of cases, it is serious, with acute meningitis and other complications that can result in death.