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The first two cases this year of West Nile fever were diagnosed and reported by the Health Ministry on Thursday. They are a 47-year-old man from Kiryat Bialik and an 85-year-old woman from Kibbutz Neot Mordechai, near Kiryat Shmona.
The man has recovered from mild meningitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain), and the women is in the process of recovering from meningitis.
The disease does not pass from one person to another. The initial symptoms are fever, headache and sometimes a rash lasting for three to six days. The virus is spread, usually during the summer months, by mosquitoes bred in standing water.
People with weak immune systems or chronic illnesses are advised to put screens on their windows, use creams and sprays that deter mosquitoes, eliminate standing water near their homes and wear light, long-sleeved clothing. Residents who notice mosquitoes in their neighborhoods should report them to the local authority or the Environmental Protection Ministry.
There were 47 cases of the virus reported in 2008.