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Junta promises 'continuous vigilance' as two West Nile virus cases emerge in Andalucía region
Health

Junta promises 'continuous vigilance' as two West Nile virus cases emerge in Andalucía region

A five-year-old was infected after being bitten by a mosquito, meanwhile another case in a 17-year-old is being investigated

José Luis Piedra

Seville

Tuesday, 23 April 2024, 14:09

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The Junta de Andalucía has guaranteed "continuous surveillance" against mosquitoes carrying West Nile fever virus after a five-year-old was infected by the insect in the Seville province town of Lebrija recently.

Another case, which is yet to be confirmed, was also recorded in a 17-year-old boy in the Dos Hermanas municipality, also in Seville province. Regional minister for health Catalina García assured there is a protocol for action and vigilance. She pointed out the entomological study that is carried out permanently in the most at-risk areas to detect whether there is a high prevalence of mosquitoes carrying the virus, in addition to the regional ministry of agriculture monitoring of animals.

"The circulation of this mosquito has been anticipated this year by the rains and high temperatures because it is usually between June and November, with the greatest influence during the month of August, when there is a greater presence and this year, however, in the month of March we have already had two cases," García said.

The minister also assured monitoring has already been carried out near Lebrija and "for now it has been negative". "The important thing is that we are always monitoring and that the municipalities have all the information immediately," García added.

Important preventive measures

Following the recent cases, García called on the entire population to use "very important preventive measures, such as not going near places where there is stagnant water, wearing light-coloured clothes that cover the whole body, avoiding dawn and dusk, using skin repellents and mosquito nets in houses".

The two recent cases come after 113 were reported to the national surveillance system by the end of 2023, with the summer months being at highest risk, especially August. The bite of the mosquito carrying the virus usually causes fever, although about 80% of infections are asymptomatic, but elderly and immunocompromised people are at increased risk of developing West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

Lebrija town hall agreed to raise the risk level from three to five in its integrated surveillance and control plan for vectors transmitting this disease, which means an increase in the controls of preventive treatments the council has been carrying out since last March to control mosquito populations throughout the municipality.

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