Israel’s Health Ministry reported that a second person died on Thursday of the West Nile virus, adding to concerns over preventing the mosquito-borne illness from spreading.
An unidentified 85-year-old man with a previous health condition was the second victim. The first was a 76-year-old man who died at Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod.
A teenager suffering from the virus is in critical condition, with another 14 patients reportedly as being seriously ill.
So far, there are 68 reported cases of West Nile virus in Israel in 2018.
Nearby Italy has reported 123 cases of West Nile virus and three deaths.
In most cases, West Nile, which is hosted in birds and transmitted to humans via mosquito bite, has no symptoms or low-grade ones, including fever, headache and muscle pain. But serious cases can result in meningitis and death. Currently, no vaccine for the virus exists.
In Israel, the virus peaks from mid-August to mid-October.
According to the Environmental Protection ministry, infected mosquitos have been found in Binyamina, Caesarea and near Haifa—in central Israel towards the north along the Mediterranean Sea.
The worst West Nile season in Israel occurred in 2000, when 400 people were infected and 40 died.