Infected mosquitoes were found in several cities in the center of the country

Infected mosquitoes were found in several cities in the center of the country

In a monitoring operation, the Ministry of Environmental Protection captured mosquitoes that were later diagnosed in the Ministry of Health's laboratories as being infected with the West Nile virus. The infected mosquitoes were caught in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak and Ramla. The Ministry of Environmental Protection instructed the authorities in Israel, with an emphasis on the authorities where infected mosquitoes were found and the authorities for which the Ministry of Health reported on human morbidity from West Nile fever, to further expand the monitoring and extermination system.

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The pest and control team of the Ministry of Environmental Protection performs throughout the year thousands of monitoring of mosquito larvae in water sources as well as hundreds of captures of adult mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are transferred to the Ministry of Health laboratories for identification and testing. When the virological test indicates that the mosquitoes are infected with the virus that causes West Nile fever, the Ministry of Environmental Protection issues an alert to the relevant authority and an immediate demand to treat the hazard. During the last week, mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were caught in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak and Ramla.

In the summer, sources of stagnant water (even in a small volume), at the same time as hot and humid weather conditions, may be a fertile ground for the reproduction and development of mosquitoes. The responsibility for reducing the dangers of mosquitoes in the public area rests with the local authority, but the public is required to join the task and dry sources of standing water in the private space (courtyards, gardens, balconies, etc.). Only a joint effort of all the parties will result in a quick and long-term solution that will make it possible to significantly reduce the nuisance of mosquitoes in the environment, thus reducing the risk of being stung and God forbid even getting sick.

As every year, from the beginning of June to the end of November, the frequency of finding mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus virus increases. It appears that this year, apparently due to changes in the weather, they appeared earlier. According to the data of the Ministry of Health, the scope of morbidity is also high compared to previous years. The Ministry of Environmental Protection requests all Israeli authorities to increase the frequency of the operations they perform for the purpose of monitoring mosquito larvae, and if necessary exterminate them before a hazard develops. Also, the ministry calls on the local authorities to refresh the instructions given to the residents, with the aim of helping them prevent the development of mosquitoes in the residential environment.

Dr. Shai Reicher, Director of the Pest and Control Division at the Ministry of Environmental Protection: “In light of the high morbidity figures for West Nile fever, the Ministry of Environmental Protection continues extensive monitoring operations all over the country, with an emphasis on urban areas. During the last week, mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were caught in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak and Ramla. In accordance with the results of the monitoring, the Ministry of Environmental Protection directed all the authorities to further expand the monitoring and extermination efforts, both in the urban area and in the uninhabited areas within the authority's boundaries. At the same time, the Ministry of Environmental Protection asks the public to protect themselves in accordance with the Ministry's guidelines, with the aim of reducing the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. The cooperation of all the parties is required to dry the mosquitoes, reduce their population and thus avoid unnecessary bites and morbidity”

In order to avoid mosquito bites and hazards, the Ministry of Environmental Protection recommends that the public drain and dry stagnant water sources that may constitute habitats for mosquitoes, including:
• Locate, remove, puncture or turn over any container that may accumulate water such as old tires, buckets and barrels.
• prevent accumulation of water in the bottoms of flower pots and planters; empty or change water at least once a week in containers such as flower vases and pet drinking bowls; cover swimming pools; Clean and empty gutters.
• Invest effort in searching for standing water sources hidden in the thickets of vegetation, in basements and roofs and dry them.
• Remove from the environment old objects that are not used and that may accumulate water in them.

In addition, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Health recommend that the public take protective measures against mosquito bites:
• To the extent that mosquitoes are a nuisance, you can use insect repellents applied to the body as well as suitable accessories to repel mosquitoes in the living rooms.
• Reduce the areas of skin exposed to bites by wearing long, light-colored clothing.
• Turn on fans inside the house and when sitting outside the house.
• Install nets on windows and openings.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection encourages the public to contact any local authority in whose territory a mosquito hazard is detected and to inform them of the existence of sewer breaches, the existence of standing water and mosquito hazards in the public space. Beyond the routine activities carried out by the authorities to reduce hazards from sanitary pests, directing the attention of the local authority to hazards from the public as well will allow the authorities to act better to eliminate them.

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