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West Nile Virus in Greece

16 Aug 2012

Thirteen new cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported in Greece by the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, 10 cases were reported from the Attiki prefecture, an area with previous case reports, and two from newly affected prefectures, Achaia (one confirmed case) and Xanthi (one probable case). For one other confirmed case, the place of exposure is undetermined.

New foci of infection is not unusual in Greece as there has been progressive geographical expansion of West Nile virus transmission throughout the country since 2010.

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.