Germany reports landmark case of West Nile virus

West Nile
Electron microscopy of West Nile virus. Credit: PhD Dre, Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Authorities are reporting the first known human case of West Nile virus transmitted by mosquitoes in Germany, a development apparently hastened by climate change.

The national disease control and tropical medicine centers said Friday the person developed encephalitis but recovered after hospital treatment.

The virus originated in Africa but has been spread northward by migratory birds and mosquitoes. There have been several outbreaks in southern and central Europe in recent years. It is found in much of the U.S.

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of Germany's Bernhard Nocht Institute tropical medicine center said that "the unusually of the last two years, triggered by , apparently have contributed to WNV establishing itself north of the Alps."

The virus causes dangerous meningitis or encephalitis in less than 1% of those infected.

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