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West Nile Virus in Tunisia

31 Oct 2012

The media has reported on West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Tunisia. A total of 11 human cases of WNV have been reported this year (2012) from Kebili governorate in the south-west of the country.

The Health Director for the region reported that one of the cases (an elderly woman with diabetes) died from the infecetion, whilst the remaining cases were all recovering after receiving hospital treatment.

Advice for Travellers

Tunisia is a popular tourist destination and travellers should be aware of the risk. West Nile virus infection is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes which bite mainly from dusk to dawn. Reservoir hosts are usually birds. Most infections are asymptomatic and severe infection is rare. West Nile virus infection is rarely reported in travellers.

Risk is greatest in those undertaking outdoor activities. Travellers should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites especially during summer months.