Date: Thu 16 Aug 2018 22:35 EEST
Source: Ekathimerini [edited]
The number of deaths from the West Nile virus has risen to 5, it emerged on [Thu 16 Aug 2018] as the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO) confirmed that a total of 77 cases of the infection have been recorded in Greece since the beginning of the summer , 17 in the past week.
The death toll rose following the deaths of 2 people, both aged over 70, in the past 2 weeks.
The virus, which is carried by infected mosquitoes, has also spread geographically, with cases reported in 33 municipalities, including the municipality of Athens.
The virus has also infected people in Viotia, Halkidiki, Thessaloniki, Evia, Imathia, Pella, Corinth, Kilkis, and Rethymno on Crete. In most cases, those infected have suffered problems with their central nervous system -- mainly forms of encephalitis or meningitis.
The national federation of Greek hospital workers has accused authorities of "indifference" in response to the rise in cases of the virus.
[West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus causing to humans a variety of symptoms, from asymptomatic or mild infection, to severe, and often fatal, infection of the central nervous system. The 1st outbreak of WNV in Greece was recorded in 2010 and was considered to be the largest epidemic in Europe since the 1996 outbreak in Romania. Most outbreaks in western Europe have been caused by WNV lineage 1. In eastern Europe, however, lineage 2, which emerged in Hungary in 2004, has been responsible for human and bird mortality, particularly in Greece.
The WNV re-emerged and spread to new territories of Greece in 2017 following a 2-year hiatus in reported human cases, according to findings presented at the 28th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID; <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180421085731.htm
>]. During this re-emergence, in the summer and early autumn of 2017, researchers diagnosed 45 cases from blood samples and cerebral spinal fluid from 180 patients. All new cases emerged from southern Greece and most were reported in regions that had not been affected before.
Epidemiological surveillance, intensive mosquito management programmes, and community education about personal protective measures are essential to prevent WNV transmission, especially among susceptible population groups in the identified regions. - ProMED Mod.UBA]
[HealthMap/ProMED-mail map of Greece: