Greece’s National Organisation of Public Health (EODY) has announced the first two laboratory confirmed cases of the West Nile virus infection for the 2020 transmission period, one in the Peripheral Unit of Xanthi (Municipality of Topeiros) and the other in the western Thessaly (Municipality of Karditsa).
As mentioned in an announcement from the EODY:
Cases of the West Nile virus infection occur in many countries worldwide, as well as in many European countries, on an annual basis. From 2010 onwards, cases occur almost every year (and) in our country, in various areas, during the summer and autumn months. Therefore, the recurrence of incidents during the current broadcast period was considered possible and expected. In May 2020, EODY informed health professionals nationwide about the need to be vigilant about the early diagnosis of cases.
As the epidemiology of the virus is determined by many factors, the areas where the virus will circulate cannot be safely predicted. Therefore, EODY recommends that you observe the individual protection measures against mosquitoes throughout Greece.
- Use approved body and environment insect repellents (according to the instructions), screens, mosquito nets, air conditioners/fans, suitable (long) clothes.
- Do not leave stagnant water anywhere (thus, you are effectively helping the local authorities in the fight against mosquitoes).
- Older people and people with chronic underlying diseases need to take action with particular consistency.
Recall that the West Nile virus is transmitted mainly by the bite of infected “common” mosquitoes, which are infected by infected birds (some species mainly wild birds). Infected people are not considered to transmit the virus to other mosquitoes.
The majority of people infected with the virus do not get sick at all or have only a mild illness, while very few people (<1% of those infected) develop a serious disease that affects the nervous system (mainly encephalitis or meningitis). Older people (over 50) are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill, as well as people with immunosuppression and chronic underlying diseases.
In order to timely implement targeted response and prevention measures, EODY -in each transmission period- conducts enhanced epidemiological surveillance of the disease, investigates cases immediately and is in constant communication and cooperation with the competent national, regional and local authorities.
More information about the West Nile virus and mosquito protection measures can be found on the EODY website, while also every Thursday a report with the current epidemiological data will be posted on the EODY website.