Arthropods behind 2 viral illnesses

A cluster of mosquito-borne West Nile virus (WNV) infections has been reported in Puebla del Río and Coria del Río, in the province of Seville. At least 26 suspected and confirmed cases have been identified so far, however investigations are continuing into the cause of several more meningo-encephalitis cases. The two towns are located SW of the city of Seville and near to the Guadalquivir Marshes. Read more. Elsewhere, the European region has recorded a total of 32 WNV cases this year, mostly from Greece (28 cases, six deaths) and two each from Italy and Romania - all from previously affected areas. See the CDC’s dedicated webpage for updates on WNV in the USA.

A fatal case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has been reported from the NW province of Salamanca, two months after another non-fatal case was recorded. Previously the virus had been detected in tick vectors in the area. The ECDC reports that forest workers, hikers, hunters and people working with animals have a higher risk of exposure to ticks. The CCHF virus ‘is endemic in the Balkans and autochthonous cases have been sporadically reported in Bulgaria and Spain’.

Advice for travellers

Most human WNV infections (70-80%) are mild, subclinical or asymptomatic, but around 1-in-150 cases involve potentially severe neuroinvasive disease.  The virus is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes, which feed mainly around dawn and dusk. While the risk of infection for most travellers is generally low, those visiting regions reporting human cases, particularly the peak transmission season, should take measures to avoid mosquito bites. Read more on WNV.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.