update deskIsrael News

West Nile virus kills 11 in Israel

More than 150 people have been diagnosed but most will experience no symptoms.

A truck sprays pesticide against mosquitos that may carry the West Nile virus on the streets of Manhattan, July 28, 2000. Photo by Sion Touhig/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images.
A truck sprays pesticide against mosquitos that may carry the West Nile virus on the streets of Manhattan, July 28, 2000. Photo by Sion Touhig/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images.

Eleven people have died from an outbreak of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Israel, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

More than 150 people have been diagnosed with the virus to date, mostly in the central region, according to the ministry.

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.

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

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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