THE FIRST case of West Nile virus was confirmed today in Malaga province, after it was detected in a horse in the municipality of Coin. A further three cases have also been found in Prado del Rey (Cadiz province), and in Alcaracejos and Palma del Rio (Cordoba province).
The West Nile virus is mostly spread via the Culex mosquito. It causes a death rate of 0.1% of those infected. But it can also cause meningoencephalitis – i.e. inflammation of the meninges and the brain among 1% of victims, as well as a fever among a further 20%.
The Andalusian regional government has since conveyed all of the public health measures that need to be adopted to all municipal health chiefs, Spanish daily El Español reported. By doing so, the authorities are hopeful that they can reduce transmission and monitor any new infections.
Aside from the confirmed cases, the virus has also been detected in samples taken from mosquitos in the Seville municipalities of Almensilla, Villamanrique de la Condesa and Bollullos de la Mitación, as well as Vejer de la Frontera and Benalup-Casas Viejas in Cadiz.
According to a statement from the Andalusian health department reported by El Español, the virus has also been detected in Carmona in Seville.
The department has recommended that people take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitos, such as using repellent sprays as well as covering up as much as their skin as possible, using mosquito nets, and avoiding stagnant waters.
In 2020, an outbreak of the West Nile virus caused eight deaths in Andalusia and a further 71 infections. The main source of infection is birds, as they migrate from south to north, and then in turn infect mosquitoes, who pass it on to horses and humans.