Travelers Beware: West Nile Virus Strikes Spain and Italy

Tourists who are planning to visit Spain and Italy are advised to be careful because health related authorities have warned of an upsurge of the West Nile Virus. Recently the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control acknowledged the occurrences of the virus transmitted through Aedes-Mosquitoes in Seville; Spain and Modena; Italy have affected many travelers and residents. 

The West Nile Virus 

West Nile Virus is known to be spread mainly by the bite of an infected mosquito, and it causes a variety of symptoms ranging from fever, joint pains, and rashes to fit, muscle weakness, and being crippled. These include severe symptoms which are lethal and occur in about twenty percent of the infected persons, and are worse on vulnerable groups like the elderly or those with other diseases. 

West Nile Virus Image
Cynthia Goldsmith, P.E. Rollin, USCDCP, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Transmission and Identification of West Nile Virus 

The virus has been identified in mosquitoes in the Chieti province in Italy, thereby proving the spread of the disease locally. Further, other diseases that are transmitted by Mosquitoes including Zika virus have been of concern, where Tiger Mosquitoes have been recognized as having infected holiday destinations including Majorca and Menorca. 

Notification by the ECDC and Concerns on West Nile Virus 

The Director of ECDC which is Andrea Ammon, also pointed out that climate change influences the presence of invasive mosquitoes and subsequently disease outbreaks in Europe. The globalization and rise of international transport especially from regions affected by the West Nile Virus brings in even more cases and sporadic epidemics in the European continent. 

Statistics of the recent outbreaks of West Nile Virus 

New statistics provided by the ECDC shows that the situation with West Nile Virus in Europe remains critical; 713 cases of locally acquired infection in nine countries. All these have led to loss of lives and have moved the virus to areas it has not been experienced before. 

Susceptible ones for the West Nile Virus 

West NileVirus has severe consequences for patients above 50 years of age and patients with risky health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer, among others. Complications such as meningitis and encephalitis may arise, necessitating the patient’s admission to intensive care.

Prevention and Advice Against West Nile Virus

In order to reduce the threat of the West Nile Virus the American Centre for Disease precaution advice include: use of insect repellent; wearing of long sleeve and trousers; and would advise against going out during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most likely to be seen. Tourists to such areas are therefore encouraged to take these preventive measures very seriously in order to avoid getting bitten by a mosquito and contracting the disease. 


In conclusion, the current travel advisory for Spain and Italy focus on the danger that is posed by the West Nile Virus and other related diseases that are spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Through constant surveillance of the disease by health sectors, the travelers can prevent the infection of themselves and their families during holidays by embracing all the preventative measures recommended by the health sector. 

With the developments that are expected, it will be important to maintain awareness, and compliance to the health measures in order to control the spread of the West Nile Virus and safe travels across Europe. 


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