During an extensive operation to find breeding places of mosquitoes, more mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus have been discovered. The infected mosquitoes have been found in: northern Jerusalem, Jezreel Valley near Afula, Midrach Oz, Hayogev, Chanaton, Netanya, and Talmei Elazar. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) and Israel Nature and Parks Authority began conducting the daily operation to search for mosquitoes two weeks ago, after infected mosquitoes were found several times over the past few months.
Daily monitoring will begin again after the Yom Kippur holiday, which is on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd, and will last for a little more than a week. If deemed necessary, mosquito larvae that is found will be sent to Ministry of Health labs to determine whether they are infected with West Nile Virus.
The MoEP has instructed local authorities throughout Israel to intensify actions to reduce mosquito nuisances, by expanding surveillance and control of mosquitoes in their areas.
The ministry also calls upon the public to take action to reduce mosquito nuisances. This includes drying out water sources on their land, on roofs, and in shelters, and informing the relevant local authority if mosquitoes are found in public places. In addition, people should take care to put screens on windows of their homes and to wear mosquito repellent when in areas where mosquitoes have been found.
West Nile Virus is usually transferred to humans through either a Culex or Asian tiger mosquito that has been infected by a chicken. Most people exposed to the virus do not develop symptoms of the disease, and the majority of those that do suffer from flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches and muscle aches. A small percentage, however, can develop an infection in the brain, which can lead to paralysis, brain damage, and even death. To date, there is no vaccine for humans and no specific drug treatment. Thus, prevention of infection in the first place is the best method to prevent transmission of the disease to humans.
Learn more about what you can do to reduce the mosquito population and prevent mosquito bites.