Nile virus returns: Italy confirms first case in Europe this summer


The disease, which is transmitted through mosquito bites, can cause a neuroinvasive infection. In 2018, the high circulation of the virus killed 19 people in Italy

The bite of a mosquito.
The bite of a mosquito.

The Nile fever is back in Italy, a disease that is transmitted by mosquito bites. This is according to the Italian Superior Institute of Health, which confirmed the first case of infection in humans. In this case, the patient suffered from the virus a “neuroinvasive infection“. The Italian health system assures that as of July 6, no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in EU member states.

In 2018, an outbreak of West Nile virus in Italy caused 365 confirmed cases and 19 deaths from the disease.

The Nile fever is a disease caused by West Nile virus and is prevalent in Africa, West Asia, Europe, Australia and America. It is not transmitted from person to person, but through the bite of mosquitoes, particularly the Culex species. Other reservoirs are wild birds and certain mammals, especially horses, but also dogs, cats or rabbits, and in southern Europe the virus is firmly established in birds. In the early 2000s, the first cases were reported in infected horses, and from 2008 human infections occurred in several regions.


Most people infected has no symptomsbut in two out of ten cases, the virus can cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, enlarged lymph nodes and skin rashes.

These symptoms can last a few days, in rare cases a few weeks, and vary considerably depending on the age of the person. In children, mild fever is more common, in young people, high fever, redness of the eyes, headache and muscle pain.

In very young children, the elderly and debilitated people, symptoms may be more severe, with high fever, severe headache, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, impaired vision, numbness, convulsions and even paralysis and coma (1 in 150 people). ). In one in 1,000 cases, the virus can cause fatal meningitis or encephalitis. The incubation period is 2 to 14 days after the bite of the infected mosquito, but can be up to 21 days in people with weakened immune systems.

therapy and prevention

There is no specific treatment for West Nile fever. In most cases, the symptoms disappear on their own within a few days or, at most, within a few weeks. In more serious situations, hospitalization is necessary. There is also no vaccine: for now, prevention consists of reducing exposure to mosquito bites through the use of repellents, mosquito nets and emptying pools of stagnant water. Municipalities at risk must carry out general disinfection.

According to the criteria of

The trust project

Know more

Leave a Comment