Mosquitoes carrying the deadly West Nile virus were found in two locations in Israel, according to a joint statement issued by the country’s health and environmental protection ministries on Thursday.
The statement said that the mosquitoes were captured in the city of Or Yehuda, located near Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv, and near Neve Zohar resort on the shores of the Dead Sea in the southeast of the country.
Following the detection, the two ministries ordered the relevant local authorities to increase monitoring and, if necessary, to carry out immediate preventive and extermination actions.
The ministries also advised the residents of both areas to take several actions, such as reducing watering, drying standing water, installing window screens, turning on fans, and using insect repellents to protect themselves.
The Health Ministry stated that since the beginning of 2023, seven people have been infected with the virus in Israel, and two of them died.
West Nile fever is caused by a virus primarily present in birds and transferred to humans through mosquito bites.
Those infected typically experience flu-like symptoms including headaches, fever, weakness, joint and muscle aches, conjunctivitis, rashes, and sometimes even nausea and diarrhea.
A small portion of patients may progress to brain infection, which can result in paralysis, brain damage, and death.