West Nile virus in Spain claims fifth victim as locals told to avoid mosquitos
The deadly West Nile virus outbreak in Spain has claimed a fifth victim in one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations.
The latest victim, who has not been named, is reported to be a 59-year-old man local to the popular tourist destination of Vejer de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz, located in the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia.
He died in the Puerto Real Hospital in the province of Cadiz on Tuesday.
His death marks the second in Cadiz after an 87-year-old woman passed away in the same hospital the previous day.
The province had previously only reported the mosquito-borne virus in animals such as birds and horses, and announced its first cases in humans on Friday.
Local officials have designated two risk areas in Cadiz with one being inside the municipality of the Puerto Real seaport located around eight miles from the provincial capital of Cadiz – popular among tourists for its beaches and architecture.
Another is a triangle formed by the three municipalities of Alcala de los Gazules, Benalup-Casas Viejas and Medina Sidonia.
All three areas are also popular among vacationers and hold artistic or historical importance in the region.
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The Health and Families Vicecounceller Catalina Garcia made a public statement saying: “The local government is doing everything it thinks it must and everything that should have been done many years ago.”
It is unclear what she was referring to.
Garcia added: “All of the local governments agree that working together is what is going to give us the solution right now and for years to come.”
The province of Seville has been the most affected by the virus reporting three deaths with all the victim’s ages being between 70 and 85.
The number of cases of the West Nile virus currently stands at 29 all coming from the Andalusian region with 24 in Seville and the remaining five in Cadiz leading to five deaths in total.
Local broadcaster Antena 3 says: “Experts attribute the rise of the virus to the confinement and the rainy spring that took place and have already alerted the West Nile virus could extend across all of Spain.”
Municipalities in the region have started fumigating places with stagnant water or wetland areas in hopes of killing the mosquitos that transmit the virus.
The West Nile virus can only be transmitted to people by mosquito bites from the Culex genus, whose reproduction niche are areas of stagnant water, whether clean or contaminated with organic debris.
Health officials in Andalusia have urged locals to put up mosquito nets and screens in their homes to avoid mosquito bites.
Climate change has been blamed for the spread of the disease originally from East Africa into Europe, Asia and America.
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