Story By: Juan Fenandez Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A woman has been confirmed to be infected with the West Nile virus which has now spread across two autonomous community in Spain.
The Ministry of Health was informed about the case after testing in the Carlos III Health Institute confirmed a local from the autonomous community of Extremadura had the mosquito-borne virus yesterday (Wednesday).
The patient is a 52-year-old woman, who has not been named, from the small town of Valdetorres located in the Badajoz province. The same province where the virus was first reported in the region in two horses late last month.
It is the first case in humans in Extremadura which had already put tourists and locals on high alert in the Andalusian autonomous community which is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country.
The woman was placed in the Don Benito-Villanueva Hospital after showing signs of fatigue, muscle pain and a 40-degree Celsius (104-degree Fahrenheit) fever on 12th September.
Her health improved and she was discharged on 18th September.
However, doctors ordered differential diagnoses testing at the Carlos III Health Institute to get a proper diagnosis of the woman’s ailment which has now been confirmed to be the potentially deadly virus.
Differential diagnosis testing is a method employed by doctors to diagnose an illness affecting a person who presents symptoms that can be attributed to two or more illnesses.
The local government issued a statement saying they “have started area-specific entomological surveillance” by placing nets in different areas to capture the insects to see if there “is a circulation of the mosquito that can act as a transmitter of the disease.”
It added that once the nets are collected they will proceed to apply a biocide where it is necessary.
Andalusia has been the worst-hit by the virus reporting 60 cases across two provinces. Seville has reported the highest numbers in Spain with 55 cases leading to five deaths while the Cadiz province has reported five cases and two deaths.
A group of investigators from the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Extremadura found that out of 725 horses in the region, almost 20 percent of them had been in contact with the virus, 143 to be precise.
The study was conducted between the years 2018 and 2019 but, was recently published in the scientific magazine ‘Transboundary and Emerging Diseases’.
The West Nile virus can only be transmitted to people by mosquito bites from the Culex genus, whose reproduction niche are areas of stagnant water, whether clean or contaminated with organic debris.
Health officials in Andalusia have urged locals to put up mosquito nets and screens in their homes to avoid mosquito bites.
Climate change has been blamed for the spread of the disease originally from East Africa into Europe, Asia and America.
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