Israel detects mosquitoes infected with deadly West Nile virus

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Jerusalem, Aug. 19, 2020 Mosquitoes infected with the deadly West Nile virus were found in northern and southern Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection reported on Wednesday.

The infected mosquitoes were discovered during routine sampling conducted by the ministry in four settlements in the southern Arava valley and in the northern Gilboa region, near the Kishon River.

The infections were detected in mosquitos trapped and sent to laboratories run by the ministry of health.

Following the detection of the infected mosquitoes, the ministry warned that the affected local authorities should increase monitoring efforts, and if deemed necessary, the authorities should carry out exterminations.

It also called on residents in these areas to remain vigilant amid a lack of a vaccination, and preventing mosquito hazards in the first place is the best way to break the cycle of transmitting the disease to humans.

West Nile fever, which can be fatal, is caused by a virus mainly found in birds and transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.

Most people exposed to the West Nile virus suffer from flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches, and muscle aches.

A small percentage, however, can develop an infection in the brain, which can lead to paralysis, brain damage, and death.

Israel’s Minister of the ministry Gila Gamliel warned that such events will increase in frequency in the coming years, as climate change worsens.