More mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus discovered in Israel

Officials are taking precaution to fight the potentially deadly disease that infects humans through mosquito bites.

June 6, 2019 23:31
1 minute read.

Mosquito (illustrative).. (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus were discovered in the Beit Aryeh area in the Samaria Regional Council district, the Environmental Protection Ministry said Wednesday.

The discovery follows the detection of infected mosquitoes in Idan, in the Arava region.

The ministry called on local authorities in Beit Aryeh to expand monitoring the situation and to use pest control if necessary.

The disease was discovered in routine tests carried out by the ministry’s Department of Pests and Pesticides, in cooperation with the Health Ministry.

The ministry noted that although summer officially begins in three weeks, this is the second time infected mosquitoes have been detected in two different and remote parts of the country. This points to a possible presence of the virus in other areas, and the ministry therefore emphasized that all local authorities throughout the country increase their actions to reduce the dangers of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Alon Zasak, senior deputy director-general for natural resources at the Environmental Protection Ministry, explained that as summer arrives, bodies of water can attract the small flying insects that can attack and suck the blood of humans and animals and infect them with their virus.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. The disease can cause fever, headaches and muscle pain, and in some cases brain inflammation and even death. Since there is no vaccine for humans, preventing mosquitoes from biting humans is the best way to break the cycle of transmitting the disease.

In Israel, the virus mainly appears from mid-August to mid-October. The virus was most prevalent in northern areas of the country last summer.

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