HEALTH: Cyprus confirms four cases of Western Nile virus

The Cyprus Health Ministry’s has confirmed four cases of the Western Nile virus transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

In a statement, it said that one case is being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of Nicosia General Hospital, another in the pathology ward and two in private hospitals in the capital, with one of them being in the ICU.

A fifth case, this time in the Famagusta region, is under investigation. All cases involve elderly men.

Due to the heavy winter rainfall there has been an increase in hatching areas due to stagnant water. Instructions have been given to intensify checks and to spray the mosquitoes in public areas.

Flyers have been published, advising the public to take measures on a personal level. These flyers were given to municipalities for distribution while a 30-minute television spot is being shown on TVs and on various websites.

In Strovolos and Palouriotissa where two cases have been reported, the ministry said there is no stagnant water or fountains and it is believed the two cases are due to water that has remained stagnant in plants and pots.

The Municipal authorities have undertaken an initiative to personally inform the public about measures to take.

Measures have also been taken along Pedieos River from Anagia community until the buffer zone close to the Central Prisons.

The public is advised to take precautionary measures which include wearing long sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially around dusk.

Although the Ministry underlines that there is no cause for concern as the virus does not spread from person to person, it urges the public to take all precautionary measures and if they suspect a case of Western Nile to inform the Centre for Infectious diseases on 22605601.

If the problem is severe, an insect repellent can be used when outdoors. Insecticides containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or eucalyptus essential oils last longer.

At home, the public is urged to use screens on windows and doors, remove stagnant water from old tyres, repair leaking taps and anywhere or anything which mosquitoes can use for hatching their eggs.

The use of fans and air conditioners although cannot kill the mosquitoes, decreases their activity.

Yards should also be cleaned from falling leaves and grass cut. Watering is best done in the morning, it added while the use of yellow lighting attracts less mosquitoes.

In about 80% of infections people have few or no symptoms, although 20% can develop a fever, headache, vomiting, or a rash while risks for severe disease include being over 60 years old and having other health problems.

Source: The Financial Mirror