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West Nile Virus in Greece (Update)

22 Oct 2012

As of 11 October 2012, 159 confirmed cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection (including 16 related deaths) have been reported in Greece. Of those cases, 107 presented with neuro-invasive disease.

Cases of WNV infection have been reported from areas of Attiki (in particular from the south suburbs of Athens), Thessaloniki, Imathia, Aitoloakarnania, Ηalkidiki, Pella and Evia, as well as from the island of Samos and the areas of Ahaia, Kavala, Lefkada, Xanthi, Drama, Corfu and Arta which are new areas of WNV circulation in Greece.

In this report, one case of WNV was reported for the first time in Corfu; a popular tourist destination.

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. Travellers should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites especially during summer months.