West Nile virus cases rise in Romania, kill two

In the last three moths ending with August 28, 19 cases of West Nile virus infection have been recorded in Romania, the National Public Health Institute (INSP) told news agency Agerpres.

INSP said that the cases were registered in Bucharest and the counties of Călăraşi, Galați, Tulcea, Buzău, Dolj, Iaşi, Maros/Mureș and Teleorman, i.e. the majority of the cases was found in the eastern and southeastern part of the country, with only a single case in Transylvania (the one in Maros county).

Two infected persons died over this period.

The West Nile virus is a single-strand RNA virus belonging to the larger family of encephalitis viruses and normally it is contained within its normal “bird-mosquito-bird” infection cycle, but can also infect humans and horses.

In humans, the virus can cause West Nile fever, which is asymptomatic in most cases, but in a small (20%) percentage of cases it can cause mild to sever symptoms ranging from fever to encephalitis. There is no human vaccine against the virus and the INSP said prevention should include covering exposed skin areas, eliminating pools of stale water and installing mosquito nets.

Title image: Mosquito on human skin (illustration)

Author: Dénes Albert