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Thiruvananthapuram: A 47-year-old man died on Sunday due to West Nile fever in Kerala's Thrissur district, the first fatality in the state caused by the vector-borne infection in the last three years, prompting the health department to issue directions for people to eliminate mosquito breeding sites to prevent the disease. 

Sources said the man developed fever and other symptoms on May 17 and after getting treatment from various hospitals, he was admitted to the government medical college in Thrissur, where he was diagnosed with West Nile fever.

The state health department has sounded an alert in the wake of the death.

Kerala Health minister Veena George said that controlling the growth of mosquitoes and carrying out source destruction are essential to prevent this illness.

"A special team from the medical office visited the locality of the victim and the district vector control board took samples from various parts of the district for testing. Steps were taken to destroy the mosquito breeding sites in the locality," the health department said in a release.

The health department has issued directions to district authorities to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures including declaring a dry day if necessary. "Importance should be given to destroying the mosquito breeding sites everywhere. Individuals should take responsibility and clean their residential areas. Clogged drains, stagnant water should be cleared," state Health Minister Veena George said in a release. 

The Minister has clarified that there is no cause for concern.

What is West Nile fever

The health department said West Nile fever is spread by the Culex species of mosquitoes. It was first detected in 1937 in Uganda. The fever was first detected in Kerala in 2011 and a six-year-old boy from Malappuram died due to the fever in 2019. 

Symptoms of West Nile fever

West Nile virus can cause a fatal neurological disease in humans but most of those infected will not show any symptoms. 

West Nile fever transmission

It is mainly transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. 

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