Through the end of August, European health officials have reported 710 human West Nile virus (WNV) cases, roughly three times the number of cases reported last year and Italy has seen nearly half that total.

Image/sferrario1968
Image/sferrario1968

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Italy has reported 327 human cases, approximately five-times what they saw last year. This includes the 144 cases Italy reported during the last week of August.

In addition, seven deaths were reported that week, bringing the total fatalities to 13 in the country.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.  Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness.

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