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Malaria in Greece

25 Jul 2012

The Hellenic Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Greece has reported two cases of locally acquired Plasmodium vivax malaria. The first case is a 78-year-old male with onset of symptoms on 7 June 2012, residing in Marathon, Attica region.

The second case is a 48 year old female resident of the municipality of Evrotas, Lakonia. The patient reported onset of symptoms on 29 June 2012. Neither of the cases had travelled to a malaria endemic area within the last 5 years.

In 2011, 40 cases of locally acquired P.vivax infection were reported from five different districts: Lakonia, Attiki, Evoia, Viotia and Larissa. A cluster of cases was identified in the area of Evrotas, Lakonia where 27 cases were in Greek citizens residing in the area and 7 in immigrants from non-endemic countries. In addition, 23 cases of P.vivax in Lakonia were reported in migrant farm workers from malaria endemic countries. The two local cases of P.vivax malaria reported in 2012 are both from localities affected in 2011.

Advice for Travellers

According to the European Center for Disease Control risk assessment in October 2011, the current risk for malaria infection in Greece is to those living/working in the affected areas of the country. The risk for travellers is considered to be low since both areas are agricultural rather than popular tourist destinations.

Antimalarial tablets are not required for travel to Greece. Bite avoidance measures are recommended for travellers however, as West Nile virus infection (also transmitted by mosquito) has recently been reported from Greece.