update deskIsrael News

15 die of West Nile virus in Israel

299 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus so far this summer.

Known as a vector for the West Nile virus, this Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito has landed on a human finger and is preparing to bite the affected person. Image courtesy CDC/James Gathany. Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.
Known as a vector for the West Nile virus, this Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito has landed on a human finger and is preparing to bite the affected person. Image courtesy CDC/James Gathany. Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Fifteen people have now died in Israel of West Nile virus, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.

The ministry said that 299 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus so far this summer.

West Nile virus has affected Israel for years, usually in June through November and not in large numbers.

Eighty percent of those infected do not develop any symptoms, but the rest, especially elderly and immune-compromised people, display flu-like symptoms including fever, general malaise, headaches and general body aches.

Neurological complications will appear in less than 1% of those infected.

This summer’s outbreak was first reported in north Tel Aviv last month, but has since spread to the southern city of Eilat. 

People in the center region, greater Tel Aviv, are especially at risk of contracting the disease as the high humidity creates a good breeding ground for the mosquitoes that spread it.

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