A warbler has been found in the Utrecht region that is infected with the West Nile virus. It is the first time that this virus has been found in the Netherlands. This is announced by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). People can become infected with this virus.
The infected warbler was caught and tested at the end of August as part of a major project coordinated by Erasmus MC. This project is part of a so-called ‘early warning system’. This system must detect the introduction of a number of exotic viruses, including the West Nile virus, as early as possible.
What is West Nile Virus?
The virus mainly occurs in birds and is transmitted by mosquitoes. When people get infected, they usually don’t get sick. About 80 percent have no complaints at all, 20 percent have mild symptoms such as fever and flu-like complaints.
In exceptional cases, an infection can lead to serious neurological complaints. Dutch people have already been infected with the virus, but all these infections have been contracted abroad.
From the beginning of this year, in addition to this warbler, more than a thousand wild birds in the Netherlands have been tested that were not infected. In recent years, antibodies have been found in several birds in our country. That means they went through the infection. Since they were not migratory birds, these birds probably contracted the infection in the Netherlands or in the vicinity of the Netherlands.
The West Nile virus has spread over many parts of the world in recent decades, including Southeastern and Central Europe and Germany.
The warbler is a breeding bird. They arrive in April and leave for Africa in the late summer. Because the warbler was tested positive in the summer, according to the RIVM it is very likely that this sparrow contracted the virus in the Netherlands.