An ongoing outbreak of West Nile virus in Seville province has resulted in a second fatality on Friday, August 21. The patient, an 85-year old woman, died in hospital. The fatality comes following the death of a 77-year old man from the town of La Puebla del Rio on Thursday, August 20. At least 25 people have tested positive for the virus, with the current outbreak focused mainly on the towns of La Puebla del Rio and Corias del Rio. At least 23 people have been admitted to hospital, seven of those being in intensive care, for treatment for the virus.
Further cases of the virus are possible in the near term.
West Nile virus is a disease most commonly transmitted by mosquitoes, usually between early summer and late autumn. The majority of infected people exhibit no symptoms, but it is estimated that 20 percent exhibit some symptoms, and 1 in 150 people infected develop severe neurological infections such as encephalitis and meningitis, certain effects of which can be permanent. The US-based Centers for Disease Control notes that people over 60 have an increased risk of developing severe symptoms. There is currently no human vaccine for the virus.
Individuals in Spain are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in an air-conditioned room - and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds in and around their residences (small pockets of freshwater, such as rainwater that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flowerpots, clogged gutters, etc.). Individuals exhibiting symptoms of infection should seek medical attention.
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