West Nile virus claims first victim in Kosovo

September 19, 2012

A woman had died of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Kosovo as two more patients were suspected of being infected with the disease, a health official said on Wednesday.

The two suspected cases were being treated in hospital, said Naser Ramadani, head of Kosovo's Public Health Institute.

Earlier this month, three people died in the first ever outbreak of the in neighbouring Serbia, in which 35 contracted the disease.

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, the virus is carried by birds and spread to humans by mosquitoes.

It can cause symptoms similar to flu, but in extreme cases can result in fever, coma and a lethal swelling of the , known as encephalitis. It can also cause meningitis.

There is no known cure for the disease but 80 percent of those infected will not develop any symptoms at all.

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