West Nile fever mosquitoes arrive in Israel early

An 87-year-old woman suffering from seriouscardiovascular and other diseases and was bitten by a mosquito infectedwith West Nile fever died recently, the Health Ministry reported onMonday. There have been 24 other diagnosed cases and six possible casesof the fever in recent weeks; by this time last year, there were onlysix to 13 reported cases.

As the annual outbreak arrived earlier thanusual, the Health and Environmental Quality Ministries reminded thepublic to do what they could to keep mosquitoes away. These includewindow screens, mosquito repellent, drying up standing water andwearing light, long-sleeved clothing. The virus has no harmful effectson the healthy, but people with weak immune systems -- including youngchildren, the chronically ill and the elderly -- are at risk forcomplications if infected.

The two ministries work jointly to reduce thenumbers of mosquitoes and fight the spread of the disease. Moreinformation (in Hebrew) can be obtained at