SPAIN’s outbreak of ‘Nile Virus’ detected in mid-August in several towns along the Guadalquivir has made the leap to Cádiz. The Ministry of Health confirmed this Saturday, September 12, the existence of four positive cases.
These cases are added to the 24 already confirmed in the province of Seville, where there are another seven possible infected pending tests.
The West Nile Virus or Nile Fever is a disease that is transmitted through the common mosquito. It is usually found in birds from the African continent, on which the insect feeds, infecting itself and later introducing it to humans, horses or other mammals with its bite.
The World Health Organization indicates that it occurs asymptomatically in approximately 80 per cent of those infected, and only 1 per cent have more serious symptoms, such as meningoencephalitis.
In the last decade, several cases of Nile Virus had been documented in horses, and very sporadically in humans. However, overcrowding this year due to rain and small masses of stagnant water due to confinement has led to an increase in cases, especially in the Bajo Guadalquivir region, a marsh area.
During the summer the regional government detected infected horses and even birds in Seville, Cádiz and Huelva, as well as in Catalonia. But now there are also human cases in the first two provinces.
The recent outbreak of Nile Virus, the most serious of those registered so far in Spain, has already claimed the lives of three people between 70 and 85 years old. Also, a family in Seville attributes the death of a 70-year-old man to this disease, whose contagion was confirmed, despite the fact that he had been discharged days before.
As there is no vaccine for the Nile Virus, the only way to avoid getting infected is prevention, through repellants, mosquito nets or avoiding being outdoors in the hours of greatest activity of insects.
The municipalities and provincial councils of the three affected Andalucian provinces have already carried out fumigations in town centres and public areas, while the regional executive has designed an emergency plan with fumigations using drones in specific areas of swamps and rice fields.