Authorities in southern Spain are on high alert after a third confirmed death from the West Nile virus.
The incident occurred in the Virgen del Rocio University Hospital located in the city of Seville in the southern Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia where the 70-year-old man who was not named was being kept in an intensive care unit (ICU) for several days before passing away on Friday 28th August.
The pensioner is the third victim to die from the virus after a 77-year-old man and 85-year-old woman also died from it last week.
According to the Spanish newspaper ‘El Pais’, all three victims died from meningoencephalitis, inflammation of the brain and its surrounding membranes which is often a symptom of the virus.
According to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Health, the outbreak affects 49 people from Guadalquivir, Coria del Rio, La Puebla del Rio and its surrounding areas making it the worst known outbreak of the virus in Spain affecting humans.
Of those affected 14 are hospitalized and five of those are in intensive care.
The West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted to people by mosquito bites and can also affect birds, horses, and other mammals.
The director of the Aljarafe health district in Seville, Rocio Hernandez, explained that there is no precedent for an outbreak with so many people affected in Andalusia, although there had been outbreaks in Romania and Greece.
Health officials in Andalusia have urged locals to put up mosquito nets and screens in their homes to avoid mosquito bites.
Climate change has been blamed on the spread of the disease originally from East Africa into Europe, Asia and America.