Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
Travel | 3,436 views

Spain and Italy warning as paralysing deadly virus detected | World | News

Britons jetting off for a summer holiday across the channel have been warned about a deadly paralysing virus, following reported cases in Spain and Italy.

One individual in Seville, Spain and another in Modena, Italy have been infected with the West Nile virus.

The mosquito-borne virus doesn’t cause symptoms in most people, but around 20 per cent develop West Nile fever, which leaves victims with body aches, vomiting and skin rashes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in 150 people infected with the West Nile virus may also develop severe neurological disease that triggers muscle weakness, seizures and paralysis.

Two locally acquired cases of the virus – spread by bites from infected mosquitoes – have been detected in popular European holiday destinations, as reported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The first case was reported in Seville, with the individual experiencing symptoms at the start of March.

“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,” noted the ECDC.

Another person was infected with the West Nile virus in the province of Modena in Italy. Italy confirmed its first West Nile virus infection of 2024 in an official report published on June 27.

The case was locally acquired, meaning the individual was infected in Italy and wasn’t bitten by a virus-laden mosquito abroad.

A case of West Nile virus infection was reported in Lombardy earlier this year, with the patient having contracted the illness in Oman. The virus was also found in mosquitoes in the Chieti province in June, although no human cases have been reported there.

This comes after mosquitoes carrying the deadly Zika virus were discovered in 26 European countries. British holidaymakers heading to Majorca and Menorca were issued warnings about tiger mosquitoes carrying lethal diseases after they were spotted in these popular vacation destinations.

The ECDC warned last month that Europe is experiencing worsening outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director, stated: “Europe is already seeing how climate change is creating more favourable conditions for invasive mosquitoes to spread into previously unaffected areas and infect more people with diseases such as dengue.”

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

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