update deskIsrael News

Third person dies in Israel from West Nile virus

Forty-two people have contracted the virus, five of whom are intubated, according to the Israeli Health Ministry.

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.

A third person in Israel has died of West Nile virus, at the Sheba Tel Hashomer Medical Center in Ramat Gan, the country’s Health Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Three additional patients at Sheba Medical Center have been diagnosed with the virus and remain in serious condition.

The ministry said on Monday that two other women in their 80s had died of the virus. Another person is suspected to have died from West Nile over the weekend at Beilinson Hospital, however that has not yet been confirmed.

Thus far 42 people have contracted the virus, five of whom are intubated, the ministry said on Monday.

All of the infected individuals are from the center of the country.

While West Nile is not unknown in the Jewish state, it typically shows up later in the summer, and does not impact large numbers of people.

This year’s unusually early outbreak was first reported earlier this month in north Tel Aviv. 

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

Although most of those infected do not display symptoms, about 20%, primarily the elderly and immune-compromised people, will develop 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.

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