Westnijlvirus (WNV) has recently arrived in the Netherlands

How does the virus spread and what are the risks?

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Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus

It occurs mainly in birds

Mosquitoes feed on infected birds and, in turn, infect other animals

West Nile virus was first identified in 1937 in Uganda 

Migratory birds brought the virus to other parts of the world

Video credits: Videvo

The virus is becoming increasingly common in Europe 

For years it was thought that it could turn up in the Netherlands

In 2020 this became a reality

September 2020 the virus was found in a bird near Utrecht 

The common whitethroat was part of a research project aimed at early detection of exotic viruses

In October 2020 the virus was discovered in the first Dutch patient

Presumably, this man was bitten by a mosquito in the Utrecht region

A vaccine for humans is still under development

Fortunately 80% of infected people do not experience symptoms

Video credits: Videvo

Around 20% of infections cause mild flu-like symptoms

Less than 1% of infections cause a serious life-threatening disease, such as meningitis 

A vaccine is available for horses

Wageningen University & Research can test if an animal is infected

People and horses do not pass on the virus

Transmission goes in one direction: from mosquito to mammal

The question now, is if the virus has already spread unnoticed

Various Dutch institutes are working together to investigate this 

What can you do to prevent an infection?

1. Cover yourself up 2. Use mosquito repellent 3. Mosquito-proof your house 4. Do not leave (rain) water out  5. Shield horses and their barn

If you've come this far, you'll probably want to learn more... 

Video credits: Videvo