Fumigation being carried out in Seville in 2020. / efe

West Nile Virus warning as the mosquito population in Andalucía has increased this year

No cases have been recorded in Spain this summer, but experts say people should be aware of the dangers and the authorities need to take preventive action

SUR Malaga

In 2020, eight people in Andalucía died of West Nile Virus. The outbreak was unexpected but was rapidly controlled by the authorities. Two years on, it appears that the threat, far from disappearing, has increased.

The population of Culex mosquitos which can carry the virus has increased considerably in recent weeks in La Puebla del Río, Coria and Palomares, all of which are in Seville province. So far no cases have been recorded in Spain, but a few days ago Italy announced its first case of someone infected with West Nile Virus.

The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (Anecpla) is therefore warning that the authorities and the public should be alert to the dangers, and has offered its collaboration to prevent new cases occurring this year.

Last year the association helped the Junta de Andalucía by evaluating the situation to prevent new outbreaks and by training staff at the regional government on what needs to be done to manage the type of mosquito which transmits the virus.

The association recommends that people clean out sites where mosquitos can breed, such as stagnant water, ponds, tanks and any outdoor container where water can accumulate, and it intends to organise information campaigns to advise about measures to protect homes from the mosquitos and the disease.

It is important to note that West Nile Virus does not spread from person to person. It is caught by a bite from an infected mosquito. That’s why the association suggests using mosquito nets on doors and windows, not walking across wetlands at dusk or dawn if at all possible and wearing long sleeves and insect repellents if necessary.

Anecpla also points out that summer is the peak breeding time for the Culex mosquito, which is why it is important to be vigilant.