MosquitoHebrew University

The Health Ministry has issued a warning to Israelis to take great care when hiking or working outdoors, in light of numerous cases of West Nile Fever that have broken out in recent weeks.

Most of the 42 cases of the disease have occurred in the center of the country, the Health Ministry reports, particularly Raanana and Rehovot.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes that come in contact with birds and animals infected with West Nile Virus, and it is then transmitted to humans when mosquitoes bite them.

Health Ministry officials urged residents of affected areas to take steps to avoid conditions that enable the bugs to thrive - particularly the occurrence of standing water, where mosquitoes breed.

Other steps include using approved pesticides, as well as anti-mosquito lotions and sprays to keep the bugs away from humans.

Most of the cases so far have been mild, but on average, 10% of reported cases are serious. Symptoms include weakness, pains in joints and muscles, and eye infections.