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West Nile Virus in Greece

16 Jul 2012

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Greece has reported 5 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection so far in 2012. The first case was identified on 8 July, in a residsent of Palaio Faliro, southern Athens; the following day a second case was reported in a nearby district. By 12 July 2012, a further 3 cases were confirmed in Elliniko, Palaio Faliro and Piraeus (all neighbourhoods of southern Atherns).

Health officials are predicting more cases of (WNV) infection in this area over the next few days. WNV was first identified in Greece in 2010, when 262 cases and 35 deaths were recorded; active transmission continued in 2011.

Advice for Travellers

West Nile virus infection is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes which bite mainly from dusk to dawn. Reservoir hosts are usually birds. Most infections are asymptomatic and severe infection is rare. West Nile virus infection is rarely reported in travellers. Risk is greatest in those undertaking outdoor activities.

It has become more widely recognised in Europe in recent years. Travellers should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites especially during summer months.