Several cases of the West Nile virus have been detected in the Alpes-Maritimes since the start of the summer season, according to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Health Agency (ARS Paca). Two were found in the Bouches-du-Rhône, one in the Var and three in the Alpes-Maritimes.
“The two people in the town of Antibes are located in a close geographical area where active circulation of the virus is suspected”, said the ARS. This viral disease is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes, which are themselves infected through contact with infected birds.
Consequently, mosquito control actions were implemented during the summer, supplemented by information for doctors in the area as well as a targeted communication campaign to raise awareness among the population of protective measures against mosquito bites and symptoms that may require medical attention, including headache and fever, Le Figaro reported.
The main signs suggestive of a West-Nile infection are the appearance of a sudden fever accompanied by headaches, muscle pain, swelling of the neck glands, a rash or even behavioural disorders. or incoherent remarks. However, in most cases, the infection remains asymptomatic.
The reaction of the authorities has been to try to eradicate concentrations of the Tiger Mosquito, combined with alerting health facilities to identify and screen any suspected cases.
Meanwhile, in Paris the health authorities have fumigated areas of the French capital for the first time to kill disease-carrying Tiger Mosquitoes whose rapid advance through Northern Europe is thought to have been accelerated by climate change, the UK’s Guardian reports.
Roads were closed and people asked to stay in their homes in southeast Paris during the early hours of Thursday as pest control contractors sprayed insecticide in trees, green spaces and other mosquito-breeding areas.
Such scenes are a regular occurrence in tropical cities and becoming increasingly common in Europe as the Tiger Mosquito, which can carry the dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, spreads from its native southeast Asia.
After first being spotted in France in 2004, it is now present in 71 of its 96 departments on the mainland, even in areas close to the northern Channel coast, according to health ministry data.
ORIGINAL SOURCES: Le Figaro, the Guardian
FILE PHOTO: Tiger Mosquito