Scientists try to stop the spread of West Nile virus

Since 1999, several outbreaks of West Nile virus, which causes fever or severe neurological symptoms and is transmitted from birds to humans by mosquitoes, is usually seen in the United States during the summer months. But researchers have not been able to determine how the virus has migrated there, and do not know how and where it will appear next time.

Now Ella Mendelson (Ella Mendelson), professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the School of Public Health at the University of Tel Aviv, in cooperation with the Ministries of Health and Environment, Israel, conducted a survey that tracks how clinical cases of West Nile virus and the population of infected mosquitoes.

By studying outbreaks of the virus and testing samples mosquito population from high-risk (eg, those that are located near large bodies of water), its method will identify the "danger zone" and provide early warnings of upcoming outbreaks. Analysis, containing more information about the dynamics and mobility of the virus, will help solve the mystery of how the virus is transmitted. The study will be published in the journal "Eurosurveillance".

The virus, a case which was first recorded in 1930 in Egypt, is now spreading around the globe, in areas with a nontraditional climates such as Western Europe and North America, as reported by Professor Mendelson. She and her research group at the Central Laboratory of Virology geographically track the spread of the virus, recording where it appears, the genetic types of the virus, the dynamics of the infection. They record and analyze, as outbreaks of the virus in the human population, and the emergence of its mosquito population.

At the initial stage, the mosquitoes were collected in different areas, which were the centers of the virus in the country. The female insects were identified and tested for the virus, giving researchers information not only about the geographical distribution of the virus, but also about its type. Further information is transferred to the Ministry of Public Health and Environment, in order to enable it to control the situation and reported to the public, when it is needed. "It's important to be sure that the local authorities to take preventive measures against mosquito-infested" — said Professor Mendelsohn.

Later, as Professor Mendelson said, the researchers expanded their interest in providing security for citizens, organized the screening of donated blood. In cooperation with the Central Blood Bank of Israel, Professor Mendelson and her research team tested the blood donated by donors to the bank for signs of West Nile virus.

Such extensive methods of notification of West Nile virus and security arrangements for the citizens can become a good example for the countries that have recently started to outbreaks of the virus in recent years.

When this method is adopted by other key countries, then it will be possible to track West Nile virus on a global scale. Professor Mendelson notes that disease prevention is better than cure. It calls for precautions in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active, recommend wearing long-sleeved clothing and use a variety of repellents insects.

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