Following routine tests administered last week, Environmental Protection Ministry officials have identified mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in the western Samarian settlement Brukhin, as well as in areas surrounding Eilat near the Jordanian border. The ministry carried out the laboratory tests in collaboration with the Health Ministry and with the relevant local authorities, and is expanding the scope of its surveillance and control in these areas, in order to minimize the spread of infection to residents.

Although most people experience mild symptoms from the disease, such as fever, headache and muscle aches, a small percentage of people can experience brain inflammation and death, the ministry warned. As a result, the Environment Ministry is urging the public to reduce the presence of mosquitoes around their homes, by drying yards, roofs and shelters, as well as by informing local authorities of heavy mosquito presences in public areas. In addition, the ministry is advising members of the public to install window screens and apply mosquito repellants.

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