Blood donation ban meant to curb West Nile virus

Health authorities have banned residents of sixteen districts in greater Athens from donating blood in a bid to avert the spread of West Nile virus, a disease carried by mosquitoes which can cause encephalitis.

The ban has been imposed on several southern suburbs of Athens including Palaio Faliro, Aghios Dimitrios, Argyroupoli, Elliniko, Alimos, Ilioupoli and Glyfada.

It also applies to Kallithea, Nea Smyrni and Moschato, Neos Cosmos, Mets, Pangrati and Aghios Ioannis, as well as Halandri and Maroussi, north of Athens. Visitors to these neighborhoods are also forbidden from giving blood if they have stayed at least one night.

Similar measures have been imposed in Evia, Samos, Naoussa and Thessaloniki.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), 40 people have been diagnosed with the disease this year and two have died. Of the 40 cases, 10 were infected in Palaio Faliro.