West Nile virus claims first Israeli life

One person died and two are in critical condition from a recent outbreak of the malignant West Nile virus at the Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet reported Wednesday evening.

In a separate incident, a young man was admitted to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba on Tuesday evening for contracting the virus, according to the Health Ministry.

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The 18-year-old was admitted to the intensive care unit after suffering from the virus and just 24 hours after the ministry published disturbing data concerning the number of such patients recently admitted to the hospital.

Official data were published Tuesday evening revealing the number of patients infected, indicating that the disease is spreading. According to the ministry, as of the beginning of the week, 37 patients were definitely diagnosed with the disease, and another 20 had no final confirmation of infection but are believed to have contracted it.

The admittance of the 18-year-old came after the Environmental Protection Ministry issued multiple warnings concerning the areas where the virus was found, and the ministry warned the public against mosquitoes. No additional details were released about the West Nile patients at Assuta as of Wednesday evening.

The West Nile virus is usually hosted by birds and is transmitted to humans and animals typically by a mosquito bite.

The Health Ministry also issued guidelines for protection from mosquito bites and recommendations for prevention. Recommendations for prevention included the use of windows and fans, nets and long clothing.

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In an official statement, the Health Ministry noted that most of the mosquitoes in Israel are not infected with the virus; however, if you develop an influenza-like fever five or more days after a mosquito bite, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis.

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