Daily Israel Report

Health Ministry Issues West Nile Virus Alert

The Health Ministry warns citizens to beware of West Nile Virus and take action against mosquitoes.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/9/2010, 3:10 PM / Last Update: 8/10/2010, 7:28 AM

Anders Bjurnemark

Health Ministry workers have discovered dozens of cases of West Nile Virus in recent weeks, an unusually high rate of infection. So far 24 cases have been confirmed and an additional six are suspected, compared to only 6-13 cases in early August of previous years.

One person has died of the virus. The victim, an 87-year-old woman, suffered from prior conditions affecting both her heart and metabolism.

In light of the relatively high number of West Nile cases, the ministry has released a warning to citizens to take action against mosquitoes, which can spread the virus. The ministry recommends fighting mosquitoes at their source by getting rid of standing water, in which the insects breed. The public should drain standing puddles, avoid excessively watering of gardens and empty vases of water.

Other recommendations include using chemical sprays to ward off bugs, putting screens on windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home and using fans indoors.

Most people infected with West Nile Virus will experience no symptoms. Roughly 20 percent will develop symptoms such as fever and headache. An estimated one in 150 will develop serious illness that can include convulsion, vision loss, high fever, coma and paralysis, and can cause permanent neurological damage.