Israel identifies mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus

Israel has found mosquitoes carrying the deadly West Nile virus in its southern region, the country’s health and environmental protection ministries said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The mosquitoes were found during routine sampling conducted by the ministries in the town of Yeruham and near the villages of Nitzana and Sde Boker, all located in the Negev desert.

Heavy rains and high temperatures after rains created optimal conditions for their breeding, it said, adding local authorities were asked to keep a closer monitoring and if deemed essential, perform extermination procedures.

The Environment Ministry reminded Israelis that there are no vaccines to prevent the infection, and the best way to prevent is to protect oneself from mosquito bites.

Symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease range from headaches, fever, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, skin rash, and occasionally, episodes of nausea and diarrhea.

In a minority of cases, individuals may also experience brain infection, leading to paralysis, brain impairment, and even mortality. Occasionally, some people developed fatal illness. ■

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