Infected Mosquitoes were Found

Mosquitoes infected with the Nile fever virus were found in the northern and central regions

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus were found. The Ministry of Environmental Protection instructed the Upper Galilee and Sdot Dan Regional Councils, as well as the city of Ramla, to conduct monitoring and, if necessary, immediate extermination

Neot Mordechai Reservoir (Photo: Yigal Yunesh)

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus were captured in the north, in the area of the Hula Valley in Upper Galilee, near the settlements of Shamir, Gonen, and Neot Mordechai, and in the center, in the region of the Ayalon River basin, near the Shapirim Stream, close to the Habad train station, the Gezer Stream, and near Ramla and Lod. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has instructed the Upper Galilee and Sdot Dan Regional Councils, as well as the city of Ramla, to conduct monitoring, and if necessary, immediate extermination.

A trap in the Parshall flume (photo: Yigal Yunesh)

In the captures conducted in the month of August, mosquitoes infected with the virus were found. The Ministry of Environmental Protection alerted the Upper Galilee and Sdot Dan Regional Councils, as well as the city of Ramla, where the infected mosquitoes were found, instructing them to intensify monitoring in the affected area and, if necessary, to carry out immediate prevention and extermination measures.

Dr. Gal Zagron, Director of the Pest and Extermination Division at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, stated: "The Pest and Extermination team at the Ministry of Environmental Protection is working to prevent and control mosquitoes that transmit the West Nile virus. The virus causes a disease for which there is neither a vaccine nor a cure, so preventive and control measures against mosquito-borne diseases are vital for public health. The transmission cycle of West Nile fever serves as an example of an issue that requires a collaborative approach under the 'One Health' framework, which integrates human health, animal health, and environmental health. The virus passes from infected birds to humans and horses through mosquitoes, which is why tackling the disease requires coordinated efforts involving the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and local authorities responsible for the area."

As in every season, the Ministry of Environmental Protection conducts hundreds of captures and thousands of mosquito larvae inspections. The mosquitoes are then sent for further examination and diagnosis at the laboratories of the Ministry of Health. Whenever infected mosquitoes are detected, the Ministry of Environmental Protection requires the local authority to promptly address the issue.

Shapirim Stream (Photo: Yoav Lustigman)
Shapirim Stream (Photo: Yoav Lustigman)

Dr. Oren Shetach Katvi, from the Zoonotic Diseases Division in the Ministry of Health's Epidemiology Department, reports that according to the Ministry of Health's data, since the beginning of the year, eight people have fallen ill, and two have died from the disease.

West Nile fever is a disease that originates in animals and can also be transmitted to humans. It is caused by a virus primarily found in birds and is transmitted to humans and various animals through the bites of mosquitoes that feed on infected birds. The incubation period of the disease, from the moment of the mosquito bite to the development of symptoms, lasts approximately 5 to 21 days, and the illness typically lasts 3-6 days.

A trap on the fence of the Neot Mordechai Reservoir (Photo: Yigal Yunesh)

In order to prevent mosquito bites and mosquito-related issues, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environmental Protection recommend that the public reduce stagnant water sources that could serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, including:

  • Identify, remove, drain, or overturn any items that may accumulate water, such as old tires, buckets, and barrels.
  • Prevent water from accumulating in flowerpot bases; empty or change the water at least once a week in containers such as flower pots and pet water dishes; cover swimming pools.
  • Ensure the presence of fish in decorative pools, clean, and empty rain gutters.
  • Invest effort in searching for hidden stagnant water sources in vegetation thickets, basements, and roofs.
  • Remove old items from the environment that are no longer in use and can accumulate water within them.

One should take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent products on the body and also in living spaces.
  • Reduce exposed skin areas susceptible to mosquito bites by wearing long and light-colored clothing.
  • Use fans indoors and when sitting outside the house.
  • Install screens on windows and doors.

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