Spain panic: Deadly West Nile virus cases soar in Seville – 20 hospitalised

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On Tuesday, the number of cases of the deadly virus rose to 45, an increase of three compared to the day before. Of those tested positive, 20 are in hospital while seven are in intensive care.

According to the Ministry of Health, the number of positive samples is 31 and the number of confirmed cases is eight.

So far, two people in Seville have died after contracting the virus, an 85-year-old woman and a 77-year-old man.

This outbreak is reportedly the largest recorded in Andalusia following the increase of mosquitoes in the region, the primary source of transmission.

There have been cases of the virus in Coria del Rio, La Puebla del Rio and Los Palacios y Villafranca.

According to Jesus Aguirre, health councillor of Andalusia, the last affected person lives in Seville East in the capital.

The World Health Organisation says 20 percent of those infected will suffer symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, body pain and nausea.

Some may also experience skin rashes or enlarged lymph nodes.

In more severe cases, it can cause neuroinvasive diseases including encephalitis, meningitis or poliomyelitis.

Although those over 50 are more at risk of the virus, the WHO explains the virus can be transmitted to anyone of any age.

Earlier this month, fears of an outbreak of the West Nile virus – as well as dengue fever and chikungunya – were raised after a new species of mosquito was spotted.

Aedes japonicus originally comes from Japan, Korea, China and Russia.

It is believed the insect arrived in Spain through the trading of used tyres which come from these countries.

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But the Association of Pest Control Companies of Catalonia (ADEPAP) has warned the new species has already been spotted in northern Spain.

So far, there have been reports of the bug in Asturias and Cantabria but ADEPAP warns it is not ruled out to be in Galicia and areas of Catalonia.

Unlike the tiger mosquito, this species can carry infectious viruses such as dengue, chikungunya and the West Nile virus.

These bugs reportedly can survive in cold climates and can easily establish itself in livestock spaces.

Eggs are even known to resist frost but it cannot withstand temperatures of more than 30C.

The mosquito lays its eggs in small pools or places where water can accumulate.

But the ADEPAP has warned any accumulation of water should be avoided in a bid to stop the spread of reproduction.

Despite the early warnings, it is reported the mosquitos are very difficult to eradicate.

Back in May, fears of a spread of dengue fever were raised after health authorities warned they must be “prepared for the prevention and control of new outbreaks”.

Rosa Cano Portero, member of the Public Health Surveillance Group of Spanish Society of Epidemiology, and Beatriz Fernández Martínez, epidemiologist, said: “It is believed that climate change may favour its expansion to new areas further north.

“The regions where there is more risk are those that have had Aedes albopictus (tiger mosquito) established for the longest time and have large movements of people.

“In the regions, Public Health Services establish appropriate plans that are activated during the season of the vector and that usually coincides with that of the largest tourist movements.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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