THE West Nile virus, which has infected 35 people in Sevilla, has claimed its first victim.

The individual is a 77-year-old resident of La Puebla del Rio.

The deceased had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Virgen del Rocio Hospital in Sevilla for several days.

His condition worsened by mid-afternoon on Thursday and he died shortly before 9pm.


Of the 35 infected individuals, 32 people have required treatment in hospital and six of the residents are in intensive care according to the regional health ministry.

All the patients have tested positive for meningitis caused by the viral infection.

The outbreak, the largest of the West Nile virus ever recorded in Andalucia, has occurred in the towns of Coria del Rio and La Puebla del Rio, both located next to the Guadalquivir marshes.

The West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted to people by mosquito bites and can also affect birds, horses and other mammals.

The Junta has revealed that four cases of the West Nile virus have been detected in horses during August. Two in the province of Huelva, one in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz) and another in Dos Hermanas, and there are two new suspected cases, one in Utrera and another in the province of Huelva.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 20% of those infected with the virus develop symptoms.

Severe cases can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, which in turn can result in brain damage and death.

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