Members on the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Health met Wednesday to discuss the West Nile virus, following one death in the north and a number of cases throughout the island.
According to Cyprus News Agency, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot officials on the infection task force of the bicommunal health committee met to discuss the West Nile virus and exchange information between the two sides on the divided island.
The Greek Cypriot senior member of the committee, Leonidas Fylaktou, told CNA that the south had already been aware of cases in the Turkish Cypriot community.
Sources told Knews that the patient in the south had not traveled recently outside the country
One person has died in the north, while others are hospitalized, at least one suspected and five confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in the north and one suspected in the south. Further tests are expected according to Greek Cypriot officials.
Experts say exposure to mosquitoes where West Nile virus exists increases the risk of getting infected, as the infection is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Sources told Knews that the patient in the south had not traveled recently outside the country.
A West Nile infection is typically caused by a mosquito-transmitted virus, with most people infected either never develop signs or symptoms or they may have only minor symptoms. However, some people develop a life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the spinal cord or brain.
There are currently no known vaccines to prevent or medicate WNV in people, while officials also clarify that a West Nile infection is not transmitted from one human to another.
Fylaktou said the channels of communication are open between him and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, so that any new cases can be relayed to each side more quickly.
The story has been updated with the number of WNV cases in the north