The chief of the Intensive Care unit at the Hospital Infanta Luisa Quirón in Seville, Juan González Maestre, during an interview with EFE where he explains the new symptoms of the new virus. | José Manuel Vidal

Twelve out of 19 people suffering from meningitis in the southern Spanish province of Seville have tested positive for Nile fever, with the remaining seven samples still pending results, the regional government of Andalusia said today..

Seventeen of the 19 cases tested are hospitalised, with seven people currently in intensive care.

Nile fever is transmitted by mosquito bites, prompting regional authorities in Andalusia to recommend people install mosquito nets and screens in their homes.

The West Nile fever virus produces only mild flu-like symptoms in most cases. However, in a small percentage of cases, it can lead to serious complications such as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord with potentially fatal consequences.

Originally from Africa, the disease has spread in Europe, Asia and North America. Several cases have been spotted in Spain over the past decade.

The virus belongs to the same strand as the Zika virus, which caused outbreaks in North and South America in 2015 and 2018.

Greece has reported 10 cases of Nile fever and one death so far this summer, while Romania has reported 2 cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Control.

The spate of Nile fever in Seville has occurred just as Spain grapples with one of the severest COVID-19 epidemics in Europe with more than 320,000 diagnosed cases and more than 28,000 deaths so far.