New mosquito-borne virus has reached France

So far, one case of Usutu virus, which attacks the nervous system, has been confirmed in humans

14 June 2018
By Connexion journalist

A mosquito-borne virus that was discovered in South Africa in 1959 and that can spread to humans who have been bitten has arrived in southwest France, health experts have said.

The Usutu virus, which attacks the nervous system, was first identified among animals in the Occitanie in 2015.

It is carried by the most common variety of mosquito in France - the Culex.

Officials at the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm) said that they has been one confirmed case of the virus in humans in France, in a man in his 30s from Montpellier in 2016, who sought medical attention after suffering paralysis in one side of his face and pins-and-needles down the right side of his body.

There have been 10 reported cases in Italy and three in Croatia, Inserm experts said.

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The patient made a full recovery after treatment, but health officials warned the virus can be dangerous is not treated promptly.

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