During routine inspections last week, Environmental Protection Ministry officials discovered mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus near the city of Eilat and in the drainage canal of Or Yehuda, a city just southeast of Tel Aviv.
After conducting laboratory tests in collaboration with the Health Ministry and the relevant local authorities, the ministry said on Thursday that its officials have elected to expand the scope of surveillance to minimize potential infection, as well as dry out stagnant water pools.
Although mainly found in poultry, West Nile virus can spread to humans through mosquito bites and is usually manifested as a fever, headache and muscle aches, with a small portion of patients even experiencing encephalitis or death, the ministry warned.
No vaccine exists for the disease.
The ministry recommended that residents take steps to reduce standing water around their homes, use insect repellants and install window screens.