The Greek National Health Care Organization (EODY) revealed on Tuesday that the West Nile virus had claimed two lives in Greece. Both were beyond the age of 81, and their deaths were due to central nervous system diseases.
Eight additional West Nile virus infection cases have been recorded in the last week, increasing the total number of infections to eleven. Ten infected people had symptoms of central nervous system infection, such as encephalitis, meningitis, and/or severe paralysis.
Three people remain in the hospital, one in intensive care, and six have been discharged. The virus has been detected in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, and Central Macedonia, with cases reported in Kavala, Karditsa, Larissa, Imathia, Pella, and Serres.
It should be noted that the real number of instances may be far greater than the given figures. According to EODY, for every confirmed case, there could be up to 140 more people infected with the virus who have minor or no symptoms.
West Nile virus has been creating annual outbreaks in Europe and neighboring regions, with cases confirmed in Italy and Hungary this year. Between 2017 and 2022, Greece recorded hundreds of illnesses, particularly during the summer months, showing that the virus has entrenched itself there.
Mosquito bites carry the West Nile virus to humans and horses. While authorities advise wearing protective gear, such as long sleeves and pants, during mosquito-infested seasons, this can be difficult during the humid Greek summer. Surveillance, the application of insecticides, and the elimination of mosquito habitats are all used to manage the mosquito population. These efforts are normally carried out in May, before the arrival of summer.