Two cases of West Nile virus detected in Tarragona

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The General Directorate for Monitoring and Response to Public Health Emergencies of Catalonia has reported two cases of West Nile virus infection, one confirmed and one possible, in two people living in the Camp de Tarragona medical area, who are developing favorably.

West Nile fever is an infectious disease caused by a virus in the flavivirus family, which also includes the Japanese encephalitis virus. It is a zoonosis, that is, a disease spread from animals to humans, usually through the bite of a common mosquito.

According to the Ministry of Health, after these cases were identified and according to protocol, entomological examinations were carried out for the presence or absence of mosquito vectors in their possible places of stay. Affected people about whom they did not provide details to maintain their privacy.

The Ministry of Health reminded that the process of confirming suspected cases of Nile fever, the first of which appeared on August 31, requires microbiological and sequencing studies, which are not immediate, so only one of the two is confirmed and the other “probable.” “, although in both cases the clinical evolution is “favorable”.

According to the Ministry of Health, potential mosquito breeding sites in the area have been identified and cleaned and traps have been set for adult mosquitoes to analyze for the presence of the virus. In addition, they increased surveillance for other possible larval outbreaks, particularly in areas affected by the two cases.

The Animal Health Prevention Service is also taking routine measures to detect the possible presence of the virus in birds and horses in areas frequented by two infected people. In addition, the Blood and Tissue Bank of Catalonia, as a safety measure, analyzes all samples from donors in the two transmission zones to detect the virus.

The Ministry of Health reminded that the main route of transmission of the disease to people and animals is through the bite of infected birds.

Among the forty mosquito species that can transmit the disease, the common mosquito (Culex pipiens) is the main vector in Catalonia.

In Catalonia, there is a protocol for the surveillance and control of West Nile fever, which includes various departments, institutions and organizations, which provides a set of disease surveillance measures aimed at mosquito vectors and viral surveillance of animals – wild birds, resident birds. and equids.

Surveillance for the presence of the virus in humans is done through mandatory notification of disease, hospital surveillance for active case detection (surveillance for untyped viral meningoencephalitis), and screening for the virus in blood samples from sick donors.

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