MADRID, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The health authority in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia on Thursday confirmed that 11 cases of the West Nile virus have been detected in the region.
The cases of West Nile virus were confirmed by the head of the Andalusian health service, Jesus Aguirre, after tests were carried out on 19 people thought to be infected by meningoencephalitis -- a viral condition that resembles both meningitis and encephalitis -- in the towns of Puebla del Rio and Coria del Rio in Seville province.
Seventeen of the 19 people infected have needed hospital treatment, with Spanish TV network RTVE reporting that seven are in intensive care.
Aguirre explained that the health authority will now activate protocols to fight the "Aedes japonicus" mosquito, which is the transmitter of this disease in the region.
Both Puebla del Rio and Coria del Rio are situated on the banks of the slow moving River Guadalquivir, and the 42,000 inhabitants of both towns have been advised to do all they can to avoid contact with mosquitoes.
West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted to people mainly by mosquito bites and can also affect birds, horses, and other mammals.
According to the World Health Organization, around 80 percent of infected people do not experience symptoms, while the remaining 20 percent do manifest symptoms, which can be as serious as inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues, with one percent of cases leading to death. Enditem