West Nile virus, transmitted by mosquito bites, has claimed the life of a fourth patient in Spain. Authorities have deployed teams to fumigate fields and gardens while battling the disease.
An 87-year-old patient has died in the southern city of Cadiz, bringing the number of deaths from the disease in the country to four, according to local media, citing medical officials. The previous three deaths have occurred in Seville, which, along with Cadiz, is part of the Andalusia region. All of the victims were over 70 years old.
West Nile virus (WNV) was first detected in Spain in 2006. According to the news site The Local, while only seven cases have been recorded in the country in the last decade, 52 have been discovered only last month. In some cases, patients have been hospitalized and placed in intensive care units.
The spike in cases in Spain is believed to be linked to a growing mosquito population in wetlands. Cadiz officials have deployed teams to fumigate areas in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.
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First recorded in Uganda in the 1930s, the virus is found in birds and is transmitted to humans and horses through infected mosquitoes. There is no human-to-human transmission. According to the World Health Organization, about 80% of those infected have no symptoms, while the rest develop influenza-like illness.
The death rate for patients with serious illnesses was between 3 and 15%. There is no human vaccine for WNV and no specific treatment other than symptom relief.
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