West Nile Virus Claims Lives in Greece: Concerns Rise as Cases Increase

1 2 2

On Tuesday, the Greek National Health Care Organisation (EODY) announced that two lives had been lost to the West Nile virus in Greece. Both individuals were over 81 years old, and their deaths were attributed to central nervous system infections.

In the past week, eight new West Nile virus infection cases have been reported, bringing the total number of infections to 11. Ten infected individuals showed signs of central nervous system infection, indicating encephalitis, meningitis, and/or acute paralysis.

Three patients remain hospitalized, with one in intensive care, while six have been discharged. The regions affected by the virus include Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, and Central Macedonia, with recorded cases in Kavala, Karditsa, Larissa, Imathia, Pella, and Serres.

It is important to note that the actual number of cases may be significantly higher than the reported figures. EODY estimates that for every recorded infection, there could be approximately 140 other individuals infected with the virus, showing either mild or no symptoms.

West Nile virus has been causing annual outbreaks in Europe and neighbouring regions, with this year also seeing reported cases in Italy and Hungary. Greece has experienced hundreds of infections, primarily during the summer months between 2017 and 2022, indicating that the virus has established itself there.

The West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and horses through mosquito bites. While authorities recommend wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, during mosquito-prone periods, this can be challenging during the hot Greek summer. Efforts to control the mosquito population include surveillance, the use of pesticides, and the reduction of mosquito habitats, typically carried out in May before the onset of summer.

Advertisment

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024