The population of mosquitoes transmitting Nile virus in Seville skyrockets

The population of mosquitoes transmitting Nile virus in Seville skyrockets

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The nile fever has returned to Europe, but for now not to Seville. The Italian Higher Institute of Health confirmed a few days ago the first case of infection in humans this summer, a patient who has suffered a “neuroinvasive infection” due to the virus.

It is the only one detected so far on the European continent where the province of Seville plays a role of high risk after the outbreaks of 2020 and 2021 that resulted in the death of seven and three people, respectively.

However, the situation has changed this year and to date the presence of the virus has not been detected in the province. What they do confirm from the Doñana Biological Stationdependent on the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), and in charge of controlling the presence of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus in Andalusia (Culex perexiguus, Culex pipiens Y Culex modestus), it’s a progressive increase of this species in the traps that the agency has in place for this research project -focused on the abundance of the insect and the detection and study of the viruses it carries since the 2020 outbreak- in the terms of La Puebla del Río, Coria and Palomares.

“It’s about a disproportionate increase detected in recent weeks,” warns Jordi Figuerolaprincipal investigator of the CSIC at the Doñana Biological Station, an expert in zoonoses (pathogens that easily pass from animals to humans), at the head of the West Nile Virus monitoring team in mosquitoes and birds of this project, who points out that the last year around this time “The catch was smaller, but the virus had already been detected.”

Although the increase in the population of transmitting mosquitoes is widespread in the three traps controlled by the CSIC in the province, Figuerola warns of its high incidence in The Puebla del Rio where, specifically in the southern sector of the municipality, they were captured on July 22 almost 1,600 copies.

“It is the bad news, the increase in the presence of mosquitoes of the species that can transmit the virus, but the good news is that, despite this higher incidence, the virus has not been detected on a date when last year already infected mosquitoes had been caught,” added the scientist. The same circumstance occurs in the traps located in Dovecotes of the Riverwhere the 1,000 captures were touched on the same day, and in the rural towns of The Cañada de los Pajaros and Dehesa de Abajowhere the volume of transmitted species captured exceeds 10,000 and 4,500 specimens, respectively.

Faced with this situation, the zoonosis expert reminds the population of the importance of protect yourself from mosquito bites due to this greater presence of insects this summer, above all, in the three towns controlled by the project in La Puebla del Río, Coria and Palomares, but also in the twenty Seville municipalities that the Junta de Andalucía included in its risk map last May. “Having mosquito nets in houses, avoiding humid areas early and late in the day, wearing long sleeves when possible and repellents are the citizen’s weapons to avoid infections that mosquitoes can transmit in their bites”maintains Firguerola.

West Nile fever is a disease caused by the West Nile virus and is widespread in Africa, West Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. It is not transmitted from person to person, but through the bite of mosquitoes, especially the species culex. Other reservoirs are wild birds and some mammals, especially horses, but also dogs, cats or rabbits, and in southern Europe the virus is firmly established in birds. In the early 2000s, the first cases were reported in infected horses, and from 2008, human infections occurred in several regions.

In the province of Seville, in 2020 The largest outbreak of the disease in the history of Spain was recorded, claiming the lives of seven people. then they registered 76 cases (40 confirmed and 36 probable) throughout Andalusia. Last year, West Nile virus claimed the first fatality on August 20. Subsequently, two other people also lost their lives due to infection caused by a mosquito. The municipalities of the towns most affected by the presence of mosquitoes criticize the passivity of the Board in the control of the species.

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