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West Nile Virus in Germany (Saxony)

01 Oct 2019

The Robert Koch Institute has reported (in German) a case of West Nile virus infection in a 70 year old man in Saxony. The man became unwell in mid-August 2019 and was treated in hospital in Leipzig. He has since recovered.

This is the first case of mosquito-borne West Nile virus infection in a human in Germany, although the virus is known to infect horses in Saxony. The infection is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes which are naturally widespread in Europe. Most cases are mild or without symptoms, although infection of the central nervous system can occur, as happened in this case.

Advice for Travellers

There is no vaccine against West Nile virus.

Travellers should practice Mosquito Bite Avoidance at all times, especially during peak transmission times and when outbreaks are known to be occurring.  These outbreaks will be listed on the destination pages of fitfortravel. Medical advice can be sought if symptoms develop following travel to a risk area. Note for blood donors: If you have travelled to an area with WNV in the past 4 months you may need to be tested for West Nile virus before donating blood. All travel must be mentioned to the Blood Transfusion Service so that they can determine whether you need to be tested. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service have produced a leaflet which details information about blood donation after travel:

For further information see West Nile Fever.