West Nile Virus Cases Grow in Vacation Hotspots Spain, Italy

Two people have been infected with the West Nile Virus in vacation hotspots Spain and Italy.

Confirmations were made that the virus infected one person in Modena, Italy, and another in Seville, Spain.

While most people who get infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all, roughly 20% of them develop what’s known as West Nile fever. People who develop that often suffer from skin rashes, vomiting and achy bodies.

According to the World Health Organization, one in 150 people who are infected with West Nile could also develop a severe neurological disease that could trigger muscle weakness, seizures and — in extreme cases — paralysis. 

The virus is carried by mosquitoes, who then infect people when they bite them.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recently reported these two cases, both of which come in vacation hotspots as travelers from around the world are taking trips during the summer. 

In the beginning of March, the first person started to experience symptoms in Seville, Spain. As the ECDC noted:

“Although an isolated case, it highlights that the transmission of West Nile virus can occur very early in the year, likely due to suitable climatic conditions.”

The second person who was infected with the virus is from the Moderna province in Italy. According to an official report that was published at the end of June, it was the first confirmed case of the virus in Italy for this year.

Authorities in the country say the case was acquired locally. What this means is that the person was bitten by a mosquito in Italy and not while they were in another country.

Another person from the Lombardy section of Italy was confirmed to have a West Nile virus infection back in April, but that person had contracted the virus while traveling in Oman.

In June, authorities also detected West Nile virus in mosquitoes in the Chieti province. However, no human cases have yet been reported from that.

In addition to West Nile virus, there’s also concern about Zika virus because 26 European countries have reported that mosquitoes have been detected carrying the virus.

The UK warned its citizens that if they were headed to Menorca or Majorca they should be careful because tiger mosquitoes had been spotted carrying some killer diseases in those popular holiday destinations.

Last month, the ECDC warned people that Europe was experiencing outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases that were worsening. In addition to the West Nile and Zika viruses, it also includes chikungunya and dengue.

The director of the ECDC, Andrea Ammon, commented:

“Europe is already seeing how climate change is creating more favorable conditions for invasive mosquitoes to spread into previously unaffected areas and infect more people with diseases such as dengue.

“Increased international travel from dengue-endemic countries will also increase the risk of reported cases, and inevitably also the risk of local outbreaks.”

What’s more, the ECDC added that “the number of affected regions is the highest since the peak in 2018, indicating a wide geographical circulation of the virus.”