An outbreak of West Nile virus has left 34 people dead in Greece as of early October. Some 238 cases of the disease have been reported across the country; among the areas most affected by the outbreak are Attica and Central Macedonia regions. Further spread of the outbreak is possible in the coming weeks.
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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people over 50 have an increased risk of becoming severely ill from the West Nile virus.
Travelers in Greece are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - i.e. 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 (e.g. small pockets of fresh water, such as rainwater 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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