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West Nile virus in Israel: 32 cases identified, 27 hospitalized

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that primarily infects birds but can also infect humans, horses, and other animals.

The Health Ministry announced on Monday morning that there are already 32 people in Israel who are known to have the West Nile virus, 27 of them are hospitalized.

Three of the 27 hospital patients are intubated. Sadly, the infection claimed the lives of two individuals at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus over the weekend.

The people that are ill right now are all from the country’s core.

The Health Ministry advises turning on fans and utilizing mosquito repellents and suitable accessories to keep mosquitoes away from one’s home in order to minimize exposure to mosquitoes, which are the vectors of the illness.

What is West Nile virus?

The West Nile virus is typically transmitted by mosquitoes and affects birds, however it can also infect humans, horses, and other animals.

About 20% of those infected with West Nile virus may have moderate symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, but the majority of people (about 70–80%) may not show any symptoms at all.

Even fewer people get severe symptoms. Less than 1% of infected individuals get severe neurological symptoms such meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, or encephalitis, which is an infection of the brain.

A severe case of the illness may present with a fever, headache, stiff neck, stupor, confusion, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

Israel has been experiencing West Nile fever for a long time. It generally happens between June and November.

The morbidity this year began earlier than usual, most likely as a result of global and Israeli climate change. The country’s center experiences humid weather, which could encourage mosquito development and reproduction.

Immunocompromised adults and the adult population are at risk for significant rates of morbidity.

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