Sixteen people have died as a result of contracting the West Nile virus in Greece out of a total of 133 cases reported, an official from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO) said on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the spread of the virus is quite broad and incidents have been detected in many municipalities, mainly in Attica and Central Macedonia,” Danai Pervanidou, head of the Unit for Vector-borne Diseases, told the state-run AMNA news agency.
This year saw an early onset of the virus, which was caused by the high temperatures and rainfall in the early summer, she said.
“We are now at the peak of cases, from mid-August to mid-September, but we will see other incidents in early October,” Pervanidou said, recommending that citizens take appropriate measures to protect themselves.
The infection is transmitted by mosquitoes, with symptoms including fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, nausea and vomiting, as well as skin rashes and swollen lymph glands.
Most people (80 percent) who contract the virus will show no symptoms, while a fifth will develop a viral infection and one percent encephalitis or meningitis, and these are mainly the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
All of the victims have been aged over 70.