West Nile virus cases double in Cyprus, one death recorded

Health Ministry on Wednesday reported that the West Nile virus cases in Cyprus doubled in the past two weeks, rising from four to nine, with one death.

The Ministry said one elderly man with a poor health history died from the virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites.

The Health Ministry data showed that the cases were spread almost all over the government controlled areas of Cyprus.

Several other cases, also including one fatal, have been reported from the area of Cyprus controlled by Turkish troops, where the virus appeared almost two months ago.

Public Health Services said that enhanced measures, including close monitoring of suspected cases and the separate epidemiological investigation of each case have been applied.

Mosquito control measures, such as spraying ponds and stale water areas where the mosquitoes breed, were also applied.

People were again advised to take precautionary measures which include wearing long sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially around dusk, or even use insect repellants when outdoors.

Public Health Services said that in most cases bites by infected mosquitoes go unnoticed, but people with a poor health, such as the elderly, are likely to develop virus-related complications.

The West Nile virus is believed to have been brought to Cyprus by migratory birds which arrived in the spring or early summer.

The birds act as hosts to the virus.

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