Israeli health officials reported three human West Nile virus cases in July, bringing the total number for 2014 to 15, according to a Israel National News report today.
Geographically, cases were reported from the Haifa and Afula area in the north of the country, to the Ashkelon region in the south, and were reported in 12 different communities. In the central Gush Dan coastal region, six patients are reported suffering from the virus.
West Nile virus can cause severe illness in people and horses, although only about 20% of those infected will develop any symptoms at all, usually flu-like: fever, headache, body aches, and muscle weakness. Some people, especially the elderly, may experience more severe symptoms including high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and/or encephalitis or inflammation of brain, which can lead to paralysis or death.
Most people get infected with West Nile virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals.
In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There is no specific treatment for the virus, and therefore the main method to combat it is by avoiding contracting the disease, primarily by preventing mosquito bites.
According to the report, 71 cases of the virus were reported in Israel last year; including four fatalities. Likewise in 2012 out of a total of 89 cases, two patients passed away. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page