An 87-year-old woman hospitalized with the disease in the city of Puerto Real in the southwestern province of Cadiz is the latest fatal victim of the outbreak, the health department of Andalusia’s regional government said.
Three other elderly have died of the disease in the neighboring province of Seville, where the outbreak started earlier this year in the towns of Coria del Rio and La Puebla del Rio, both located next to the Guadalquivir marshes.
Ten other people have been hospitalized with the disease in the two provinces, four of whom are in intensive care units.
West Nile virus can cause symptoms similar to the flu, but in extreme cases, it can result in chills, fever, coma, and deadly swelling of the brain tissue known as encephalitis. It can also cause meningitis (meningitis).
The virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1937 and is carried by birds. Mosquitoes transmit it to humans.
The Regional Government of Andalusia has sprayed several wetlands with pesticides to kill mosquitoes and reduce the risk of West Nile virus transmission. People are urged to install mosquito nets and insect screens in their homes.