Five cases of West Nile virus have been reported since early July in Greece according to the Greek centre for disease control and prevention (KEELPNO) on Friday, which has urged citizens to take preventive measures.
The first case reported this year was on Sunday, when a 60 year old pensioner in Palaio Faliro, a seaside suburb in Athens, was taken ill. A resident of nearby Argyroupoli was confirmed as being infected with the virus the next day, according to Kathimerini. But KEELPNO later verified three more cases, involving people aged 18, 40 and 65, by Thursday evening.
The first victims were successfully treated, the latest three had been hospitalised for symptoms “affecting the central nervous system,” KEELPNO added in a statement on its website.
The center has advised residents especially of the areas where infection has occurred to use mosquito repellent on their skin and homes, use nets on windows and not to leave containers with water outside their houses.
“After incidents of the virus in summer of 2010, which was when it appeared for the first time in Greece (mainly in Central Macedonia near rivers and lakes), and incidents in 2011, infections were expected to continue in this year,” KEELPNO said.
During this year’s outbreak of the disease no other cases have occurred to date in other European countries. During the 2011 outbreak in Greece which killed nine people of the 101 infected cases had been observed in Romania, Russia, Albania, FYROM, Israel and Italy.
The virus which was first discovered in Uganda in 1937, can cause symptoms similar to those of the flu, but in extreme cases it can result in tremors, fever, comas and a lethal swelling of the brain tissue known as encephalitis. It can also cause meningitis, AFP reports.