Cyprus Mail

Cases of West Nile virus rise to nine

Known as a vector for the West Nile virus: the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito

Cases of the West Nile virus in the government-controlled areas have more than doubled in the past two weeks, rising from four to nine, data published by the health ministry’s public health services showed on Wednesday.

One elderly man from Nicosia has lost his life.

On August 8, the public health services announced that four people, all elderly men from Nicosia, had been taken ill from the mosquito-borne virus. By Wednesday, the figure had risen to nine, of which one was a fatality, while four are still being treated, and four have been discharged from hospital.

According to the public health services, four of the cases were recorded in Nicosia, four in the government-controlled areas of Famagusta, and one in Larnaca.

Several cases of the West Nile virus have also been recorded in the north, again with one fatality. The public health services said that they have not been made aware of any increases in the cases recorded in the north.

The public health services said that since the first case was recorded, a number of measures have been taken to tackle the issue. These include the enhanced monitoring of suspected cases, the separate epidemiological investigation of each case, and an increase in mosquito control measures, among other measures.

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

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

Pregnant and lactating women should follow their doctor`s instructions regarding the use of insect repellent, while DEET insect repellents are unsuitable for use on infants under two months of age and should be used with caution on children under 12. Repellents containing eucalyptus essential oils should be avoided on children younger than three years.

At home, the public is urged to use screens on windows and doors, remove stagnant water and repair leaking taps,

Though the use of fans and air conditioners cannot kill mosquitoes, they do decrease mosquito activity. Yards should also be cleaned from falling leaves and grass should be cut. Watering is best done in the morning, while the use of yellow lighting attracts fewer mosquitoes.

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