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RKI reports first infection with West Nile virus this year

For the first time this season, an infection with the West Nile virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, has become known in a person in Germany.

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RKI reports first infection with West Nile virus this year

For the first time this season, an infection with the West Nile virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, has become known in a person in Germany. The pathogen, which circulates between mosquitoes and birds in parts of Germany, was discovered during a screening as part of a blood donation, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported on Thursday. The affected patient has no symptoms, the infection apparently took place in her district in western Saxony-Anhalt. The RKI did not provide more precise location information.

In 2019, the first infections suspected of being transmitted by mosquitoes became known in people in Germany who had not previously travelled. The RKI speaks of 30 cases for 2020, in 2021 only individual infections were known. In recent years, Berlin, parts of Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony as well as some districts in Thuringia and a district in Lower Saxony have been affected by infections in humans and animals.

According to the RKI, West Nile fever is usually unremarkable. About every fifth infected person develops a flu-like illness with fever. About one in 100 infected people becomes seriously ill. Experts therefore assume that the number of undetected infections is unreported. Older people and/or people with previous illnesses are considered to be at risk for more severe courses. You are advised to protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially at this time of year and in affected areas.

In the district in which the infection was now recorded, according to the RKI, no infections with the West Nile virus in birds and horses had been noticed in previous years, but in four directly neighboring districts. According to the RKI report, infections with the virus in birds and horses have been detected in ten locations in Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt since July.

According to data from the EU health authority ECDC, around 300 cases were recorded in this year's transmission season as of August 17, around 230 of them in Italy. A total of 15 deaths were registered.

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