THE mosquito-borne West Nile virus could spread through Spain, experts have warned.
After the appearance of several cases in Sevilla and the death last Friday of a third person due to meningitis caused by the disease, concern of a new ‘plague’ in Andalucia and other regions of Spain is growing.
In the last 10 years the National Centre of Epidemiology had only registered seven cases of the Nile virus in Spain. In the last month there have been more than 30 cases.
It is the largest outbreak of this type to be registered in Spain.
Experts attribute this outbreak to a 30% increase in the number of mosquitoes present in the wetlands of the Doñana National Park and the Guadalquivir River, especially in the sections near La Puebla and Coria del Rio in Sevilla, where the outbreak was first detected.
The months of confinement combined with the increase in temperatures seem to be behind this increase with respect to previous years.
Health minister for Andalucia Jesus Aguirre explained that the disease has come from the arrival of an invasive breed of mosquito known as the Aedes Japonicus.
The mosquitos bite migratory birds which often fly in from areas afflicted by the virus.
President of the General Council of Veterinary Associations of Spain (OCV), Luis Alberto Calvo Saez, has indicated that the Nile virus, as well as other zoonotic diseases currently present in Spain, such as Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, a tick-borne virus ‘may spread’ throughout the country.
“Normally when outbreaks occur, they are less extensive to start with, but of course they can spread,” he said.
Specialists in pest control have confirmed the existence of the mosquito that transmits the West Nile virus in the province of Cordoba.
Specifically, a small colony has been located in a dam near the Ibn Firnas bridge, on the outskirts of the city.
The Junta affirms however that transmitter mosquito located in Cordoba is without any trace of the virus.
Regardless, it’s expected that the Junta will order fumigation of the area as a preventative measure.