(ORDO NEWS) — Italy has recorded 71 new cases of West Nile fever and two more deaths from the virus in the past seven days, the Institute for Public Health (ISS) weekly report.
The report says the country has recorded 301 cases and 15 deaths since early June. Of the 301 cases, 160 had the neuroinvasive form (85 in Veneto, 37 in Emilia Romagna, 19 in Piedmont, 8 in Lombardy, 7 in Friuli Venezia Giulia, 3 in Tuscany and 1 in Sardinia).
About 45 cases were found in blood donors (23 in Veneto, 11 in Emilia-Romagna, 6 in Lombardy and 5 in Piedmont). Approximately 186 mosquito swarms, 15 horse breeding areas and 142 infected birds have been identified. The report says that no poultry farm was affected.
Ten West Nile patients have been transferred to the intensive care unit at a Padua hospital amid an alarming rise in mosquito cases in Veneto, medical sources said earlier this week. In total, there are now 15 people with a fever in the Padua hospital.
The hospital said some of those in the intensive care unit were relatively young, in their 50s or 60s.
“The rest are older people who have been hit hard by this virus, which seems to be especially aggressive this year,” said Giuseppe Dal Ben, CEO of Azienda Ospedale Università Padova.
Meanwhile, a third case has been reported in Tuscany, a 16-year-old boy. West Nile virus (WNV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever.
It is a member of the Flaviviridae family in the genus Flavivirus, which also contains Zika virus, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus.
The virus is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes, mainly Culex species. The main hosts of WNV are birds, so the virus remains in the bird-mosquito-bird transmission cycle. The virus is genetically related to the Japanese encephalitis virus family. (ANSA).
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