In the European Union (EU), an increase in the number of human West Nile virus (WNV) cases has been reported in recent weeks, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
In the past two weeks, 43 total WNV cases were reported, 32 last week and 11 the week prior. Before this spike, the EU saw 54 total cases during the whole 2016 transmission season.
European health officials state, although there’s a noted peak in the reported West Nile fever transmission in EU recently, the overall number of cases is still within the expected ranges for the disease transmission season.
Romania, Italy and Hungary have seen the most cases during the increase.
WNV is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes through bites. Most, about 4 out of 5, people infected will experience no symptoms and develop immunity. About 1 in 5 infected people develop a low grade fever, headache and muscle aches that begin a week or two after becoming infected. Generally, no treatment is needed.
However, in less than 1 percent of infected people, serious, life-threatening symptoms develop including headache, rash, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, and other symptoms.
The ECDC says, as it affects countries in Europe every year, West Nile fever is now recognized as a major cause of public health concern in this region. No vaccine is currently available. The main preventive measures are aimed at reducing exposure to mosquito bites.
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