Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) have been detected in Israel. The discovery of WNV was made following routine surveillance tests conducted by the Israel Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Vector Control Unit of the Israel Airports Authority, the Ministry for the Environment and IDF.
Since 2017, the Israeli Ministry of Health has implemented an aggressive surveillance system for WNV, following reports that the virus had been detected in neighboring countries. The Ministry samples standing water, like puddles and unearthed sewage, to detect the mosquitoes before they have a chance to spread the virus.
In 2018, the first mosquito caught with the virus was found in a bird-watching park in Northern Israel. Mosquitoes with WNV have since been detected with increasing frequency and across all parts of the country.
In response to the increased incidence of WNV in the country, the Israeli Ministry of Health launched an emergency public awareness campaign in 2019. The campaign encouraged people to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent and covering exposed skin, as well as to take action to reduce mosquito habitats such as making sure to plug any drainage points in the garden.
Following the outbreak in 2018, the Israeli government has allocated funds for research on the development