By Chris King •
Published: 02 Sep 2023 • 18:26
Image of a mosquito on a person's skin.
Credit - Frank60 / Shutterstock.com
TWO men from the Don Benito-Villanueva health area of Badajoz have been infected with the West Nile fever virus.
The diagnoses were confirmed to Europa Press by the Extremadura Health Service (SES) this Saturday, September 2, and reported by larazon.es.
Specifically, one of those affected is a 54-year-old man. He was admitted to a ward of the Hospital de Don Benito-Villanueva with a favourable evolution. These same sources pointed out that another 55-year-old man did not need hospitalisation because he was asymptomatic.
West Nile fever is a zoonosis caused by certain strains of West Nile virus (WNV) and is transmitted by mosquitoes. While the virus can cause a fatal disease of the nervous system in humans, almost 80 per cent of infected people show no symptoms.
A mosquito-bird-mosquito cycle maintains the transmission of this virus. It is facilitated by the possibility of transovarial transmission. The virus is passed from mothers to eggs and subsequently to the next generation of mosquitoes. Humans and equidae are considered as final hosts of the virus and therefore do not transmit the disease.
Birds are considered the main carriers of the disease, which means they are able to sustain the virus without suffering any symptoms in some cases. They play a very important role in the maintenance and dissemination of the virus, sometimes over long distances, through migratory routes.
Some bird species are particularly susceptible, so the virus can cause high mortality, as in the case of crows, although the virus has been discovered in more than 250 species of birds found either dead or dying.
Transmission occurs mainly through the bite of mosquitoes belonging mostly to the genus Culex, in particular Culex pipiens. Other arthropods may also be involved. Creatures including ticks, flies and lice have previously been found infected with the virus, although to a lesser extent. Most human infections occur via this route.
The main symptoms of West Nile fever are headache, vomiting, fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash or tiredness according to the NHS.
However, in cases of encephalitis or meningitis, the warning signs are headache, high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. In severe cases, this virus can develop into a serious neurological infection, such as meningoencephalitis.
Only last week, a case of West Nile virus was confirmed in the Valencian Community. As reported by the Ministry of Health, a 72-year-old woman from the municipality of Puçol was admitted to a hospital on August 9 displaying certain symptoms. She subsequently had a favourable prognosis and was discharged.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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