update deskIsrael News

Seven die from West Nile virus in Israel

Forty-eight people have been diagnosed with the virus to date, according to the ministry. Thirty-six have been hospitalized, five of whom are on ventilators.

A mosquito. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A mosquito. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Seven people have died from the West Nile virus in Israel in an early summer outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, the Israeli Health Ministry said on Thursday.

More than eighty people have been diagnosed with the virus to date, according to the ministry. Sixty-four have been hospitalized, six of whom are on ventilators.

While most of those infected do not develop any symptoms, about 20%, especially the elderly and immune-compromised people, will display flu-like symptoms, including fever, general malaise, headaches, or general body aches, according to the ministry.

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

While West Nile virus has affected Israel for years, it usually occurs between the hot and humid summer months of June through November, and not in large numbers.

This year’s summer outbreak was first reported earlier this month in north Tel Aviv.  The first two fatalities were women in their 80s.

People in the center of Israel are especially at risk of contracting the disease as the area’s high humidity creates an ideal breeding ground for the mosquitoes.

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