15 dead from West Nile virus in Israel

JERUSALEM (JNS) – Fifteen people have now died in Israel from the West Nile virus, the Health Ministry announced Tuesday.

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The ministry reported that 299 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus so far this summer.

West Nile virus has been affecting Israel for years, usually from June through November and not in large numbers.

Eighty percent of those infected do not develop symptoms, but the rest, especially older people and people with weakened immune systems, show flu-like symptoms, such as fever, general malaise, headache and general body aches.

Neurological complications occur in less than 1% of those infected.

This summer’s outbreak was first reported last month in northern Tel Aviv, but has since spread to the southern city of Eilat.

People in the central region, Greater Tel Aviv, are at greater risk of contracting the disease because the high humidity provides a good breeding ground for the mosquitoes that spread the disease.

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