West Nile Virus Death Toll in Greece Rises to 21



The number of dead from the West Nile virus has reached 21 since the beginning of 2018, while a total 178 have been affected by the disease, according to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KEELPNO).

Of the 178 cases, KEELPNO says, 144 of the victims manifested diseases of the Central Nervous System (encephalitis, meningitis, acute paralysis) and 34 had mild manifestations (febrile illness). The median age of patients with CNS manifestations is 74 years, while the age range of those affected is 10-94 years.

The recorded cases appeared in all areas of Greece including Athens, Piraeus, Western Attica, Viotia, Halkidiki, Thessaloniki, Evia, Imathia, Aegean Islands, Pella, Evros, Corinthia, Kilkis, Serres, Rodopi and Rethymnon.

Cases of West Nile virus infections have also appeared in Italy, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, France, Israel, Kosovo, Austria and Slovenia.

The Athens Medical Association (ISA) issued a press release on Thursday expressing grave concern over the number of West Nile virus cases.

“ISA calls on competent authorities to implement an emergency action plan on mosquito control, in cooperation with experts,” the press release says.

ISA President Giorgos Patoulis blamed health and regional authorities for not spraying against mosquitos.

“The unacceptable situation to have fatal cases of the West Nile virus even in the capital is a crime that has a surname,” Patoulis stated. “Both the Attica Region and the Ministry of Health are responsible for not taking the necessary measures, despite the fact that scientists had warned in time about the danger. Our country pays with human lives for their inadequacy, and, unfortunately, there will be serious economic repercussions as this situation is a blow to tourism.”