Irish passengers heading to Spain warned over deadly Nile virus transmitted by mosquitos that killed eight last year 

Irish passengers travelling to Spain have been warned to be vigilant of mosquitos as the country remains on high alert over the Nile virus.

The deadly virus killed eight people last summer after 87 patients were infected with the virus in Andalusia, the region where Costa del Sol is located in the south of Spain.

According to health officials, the highest level of the virus has been recorded in Benahavis, in Malaga.

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The Government and authorities have taken action to lessen the effects of the virus and have implemented prevention plans as well as surveillance and control measures in these regions.

An operator begins the work of fumigation and treatment in scuppers against the mosquito to prevent the Nile Virus, on May 11, 2021, in Coria del Rio, Seville, Spain.
An operator begins the work of fumigation and treatment in scuppers against the mosquito to prevent the Nile Virus, on May 11, 2021, in Coria del Rio, Seville, Spain.

The Nile virus is generally transmitted by mosquitos that bite birds, which carry the virus and deposit it in both humans and horses.

West Nile virus is an infection that can cause a mild ‘flu-like illness that typically lasts between three and six days, and most people who become infected by West Nile virus have no symptoms.

Areas at high risk of Nile virus circulation:

Tarifa, Cádiz

Barbate, Cádiz

Benalup-Casas Viejas, Cádiz

Conil de la Frontera, Cádiz

Medina Sidonia, Cádiz

El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz

Puerto Real, Cádiz

Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz

Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz

San José del Valle, Cádiz

Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz

Trebujena, Cádiz

Bornos, Cádiz

Moguer, Huelva

La Palma del Condado, Huelva

San Bartolomé de la Torre, Huelva

Aljaraque, Huelva

Huelva, Huelva

Lepe, Huelva

Santa Bárbara de Casa, Huelva

Lopera, Jaén

Benahavís, Málaga

Almensilla, evilla

Bollullos de la Mitación, Sevilla

Bormujos, Sevilla

Camas, Sevilla

Castilleja de la Cuesta, Sevilla

Coria del Río, Sevilla

Gelves, Sevilla

Mairena del Aljarafe, Sevilla

Palomares del Río, Sevilla

La Puebla del Río, Sevilla

San Juan de Aznalfarache, Sevilla

Sanlúcar la Mayor, Sevilla

Tomares, Sevilla

Villamanrique de la Condesa, Sevilla

Sevilla, Sevilla

Carmona, Sevilla

Castilblanco de los Arroyos, Sevilla

Mairena del Alcor, Sevilla

Alcalá de Guadaíra, Sevilla

Las Cabezas de San Juan, Sevilla

Dos Hermanas, Sevilla

Lebrija, Sevilla

Morón de la Frontera, Sevilla

Los Palacios y Villafranca, Sevilla

Utrera, Sevilla

These areas are being advised to promote specific prevention plans to minimise the possible impact of infections in humans.

In addition to the urban disinfections, communication plans about the preventive measures will also be put in place.

Irish tourists visiting these areas are being advised to follow the local Government’s prevention and safety measures.

Minister of Health and Families of the Junta de Andalucía, Jesús Aguirre, said that the publication of a risk map was “a preventive diagnosis”, as no cases have been registered this year yet.

He explained: “Taking the data that we have had in previous years, we look at the colourimetric index of each of the areas of Andalusia.

“The objective is to know where we have to be more careful in the face of summer.”

According to the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre: “About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhoea or rash.

“Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but tiredness and weakness can last for weeks or months.

“The time between being infected with West Nile virus and developing symptoms is usually between 3 and 14 days.

“People over 50 years of age and those with weakened immune systems e.g. people living with cancer, may have more severe symptoms, but full recovery is usually the rule.”

It added: “West Nile virus can be transmitted through blood. People who have travelled to affected areas should not give blood.”

There is no vaccine or specific drug for West Nile virus. However, treatment consists of relieving pain, fever and any other symptom that inconveniences the patient.

To prevent dehydration, patients should control the fever, rest and drink plenty of water.

However, although many people don’t experience any symptoms, the virus can lead to serious health problems and even death.

In some cases, the virus can cause a neuroinvasive disease such as encephalitis, meningitis or poliomyelitis.

Last year’s outbreak, which was the worst Nile virus ever registered in Spain, started in the riverside towns of Coria del Río and La Puebla del Río and then spread to parts of Seville.

It quickly arrived at the coastal resort of Cadiz in August.

Drones were used to spray the areas where the mosquitoes had been detected and kill their eggs.

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