West Nile virus found in mosquitoes throughout Israel

Since the beginning of the year, one person has died of the virus and two others have been hospitalized in serious condition.

 A Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is seen on the skin of a human host in this 2014 picture from the Center for Disease Control. C. quinquefasciatus is known as one of the many arthropodal vectors responsible for spreading the arboviral encephalitis, West Nile virus (WNV) to human beings through the (photo credit: REUTERS/CDC/JAMES GATHANY)
A Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is seen on the skin of a human host in this 2014 picture from the Center for Disease Control. C. quinquefasciatus is known as one of the many arthropodal vectors responsible for spreading the arboviral encephalitis, West Nile virus (WNV) to human beings through the
(photo credit: REUTERS/CDC/JAMES GATHANY)

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus were identified near Ashdod, Lod and Acre, the Environmental Protection and Health ministries announced on Sunday.

The mosquitoes were found in the Sorek River near Palmahim, the Ben Shemen Youth Village and in a drainage ditch near the Shraga Camp. This is the first time this year that infected mosquitoes have been seen in central Israel.

The ministry instructed the Gan Raveh, Hevel Modi'in and Mateh Asher Regional Councils to carry out monitoring and, if necessary, to conduct immediate pest control.

Since the beginning of the year, one person has died of the virus and two others have been hospitalized in serious condition.

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes

Culex pipiens pipiens, a common carrier of West Nile virus (credit: FABRIZIO MONTARSI/CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)Culex pipiens pipiens, a common carrier of West Nile virus (credit: FABRIZIO MONTARSI/CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

"As the climate warms, we will also have to deal with more pests. Mosquitoes need high temperatures and stagnant water to thrive."

Dr. Gal Zagron, director, pest control division, Environmental Protection Ministry.

"We are all dealing with the high temperatures of late summer, which are ideal for mosquitoes. As the climate warms, we will also have to deal with more pests. Mosquitoes need high temperatures and stagnant water to thrive," explained Dr. Gal Zagron, director of the pest control division at the Environmental Protection Ministry.

Zagron recommended reducing watering, drying out stagnant water and using nets, fans and mosquito repellent.

Symptoms of West Nile virus

Dr. Oren Kathabi from the Department of Epidemiology at the Health Ministry advised that those who live in areas where infected mosquitoes were found should seek medical attention if they develop a flu-like illness with fever, headache, weakness, joint and muscle pain, inflammation of the eye, rash and sometimes nausea and diarrhea five to 21 days after being bitten by a mosquito.

The West Nile Virus, which can sometimes be fatal, is caused by a virus transferred through species of mosquitoes called Culex and the Asian tiger mosquitoes which became carriers by biting infected birds, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry.

Most people exposed to the virus do not develop symptoms of the disease.