At least 48 cases West Nile virus have been reported in Greece this year between January 1 and early August. According to health officials, 21 cases were reported in the last week of July alone. Central Macedonia is the most affected area.
West Nile virus is a disease most commonly transmitted by mosquitoes. The majority of infected people exhibit no symptoms, but it is estimated that 20 percent of infected people exhibit symptoms of West Nile fever and 1 percent develop severe neurological infections such as encephalitis and meningitis, certain effects of which can be permanent. The US Center for Disease Control notes that people over 50 have an increased risk of getting severe illness from the West Nile virus.
Travelers in Greece are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in an air conditioned room - and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds in and around their residences (small pockets of fresh water, such as rain water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.). Individuals exhibiting symptoms of serious infection should seek medical attention immediately.
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