Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus found near Eilat

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 West Nile mosquitoes found near Eilat

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were first detected in Israel this year in the Eilat area, authorities said on Tuesday.
The environment ministry said on Tuesday that the infected mosquitoes were found in late July near date plantations in Eilat, at Kibbutz Grofit and at the Aqaba-Jordan crossing.

In infected people, West Nile symptoms usually resemble those of the flu. Those who get sick most often recover within a week, but in rare cases, the illness can be fatal.

The Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that since the beginning of 2022, one Israeli who contracted the virus has died and another has been hospitalized in serious condition. The ministry did not specify how or where they became infected.

Dr. Oren Shattach Katabi, from the epidemiological department of the health ministry, said the only way to prevent infections — avoid vector mosquito bites as there is no vaccine for West Nile virus.

In a joint statement, the ministries urged the public to use mosquito nets and repellents and Eilat authorities to take pest control measures.

The ministries also recommended that pools and gutters should be carefully kept free of standing water, as well as dampness in the basements of houses, as such places can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and as a result of illness.

In 2020, West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes spread to the Tel Aviv area, and in 2018, dozens of people were hospitalized in the biggest outbreak in years.

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