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National Public Health Organization Statement on recent publications regarding alleged cases of the West Nile virus in Greece
Regarding recent media publications on West Nile virus in Greece, the National Public Health Organization of Greece would like to provide the following clarifications:
- West Nile virus infection, along with a number of other viral infections transmitted through mosquito bites, belongs to a group of diseases whose circulation is expected to increase in the coming years, due to a combination of factors among which climate change plays an important role. Of note, this virus has been established in many countries in central and southern Europe with consistent spread of its geographic distribution, especially during the previous season. Thus, circulation of the virus in the current 2019 season should be expected both in our country and in other European countries.
- During 2019, up to 19/06/2019, no human case of West Nile virus infection has been recorded in Greece or any other European country.
- During the 2018 season, West Nile virus circulation was particularly intense in Europe including our country. However, even in this intense circulation season (2018), the risk of severe neuroinvasive disease for the local population in Greece was low (overall incidence approximately 2 patients per 100,000 population). As a consequence, the above mentioned risk as regards visitors to our country is considered to be very low.
- National public health authorities have taken timely preventive measures, including communication activities regarding the recommendation for personal protection measures against mosquito bites.
General information regarding personal protection measures against mosquitoes is available at https://eody.gov.gr/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/mosquito_brochure_2019.pdf
In addition, NPHO publishes on its website https://eody.gov.gr/en/epidemiological-statistical-data/weekly-epidemiological-reports/#heading-1 weekly surveillance reports, which include updated information regarding the recording of human West Nile virus cases (if any) and their geographical distribution.