Four new cases of the West Nile virus in humans have been confirmed in a second Spanish city, raising concerns it could spread across the entire country.
The Ministry of Health and Families confirmed the four new cases in the Spanish province of Cadiz located in the autonomous community of Andalusia on Saturday 12th September.
All four people have been hospitalised while one is in an ICU.
The cases mark the second Spanish province to see the virus in humans which has been reported mostly in horses in different areas of Andalusia.
Sevilla, located just over 68 miles from Cadiz, has reported the highest numbers of the virus in humans with 24 confirmed cases. Seven of them are currently hospitalised of which three are in ICUs.
According to local broadcaster ‘Antena 3’: “Experts attribute the rise of the virus to the confinement and the rainy spring that took place and have already alerted the West Nile virus could extend across all of Spain.”
The reports come after a 70-year-old man died in the Virgen del Rocio University Hospital located in the city of Seville on 28th August. It marked the third and most recent fatal victim in Spain.
According to the Spanish newspaper ‘El Pais’, all three deaths were caused by meningoencephalitis, inflammation of the brain and its surrounding membranes which can be symptoms of the virus.
The Sevilla local government provided a special budget of 100,000 EUR for the hiring of a drone company that can carry out fumigation work immediately and eradicate the insect carriers while they are still eggs or larvae.
The West Nile virus can only be transmitted to people by mosquito bites from the Culex genus, whose reproduction niche are areas of stagnant water, whether clean or contaminated with organic debris.
Health officials in Andalusia have urged locals to put up mosquito nets and screens in their homes to avoid mosquito bites.
Climate change has been blamed for the spread of the disease originally from East Africa into Europe, Asia and America.