Despite Risk Downplay, West Nile Virus Cases Afflict Macedonia

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Vasilis Papadopoulos, file)

Two days after Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos said there’s no real worry of an “uncontrolled spread” of the West Nile Virus, the number of cases in Central Macedonia was reported to be 40.
The Deputy Regional Governor for Public Health Dimitris Hatzivrettas said the data was for the period from May through Aug. 23. Most of the cases were reported in the region of Imathia and in Thessaloniki.

“Thirty of them (infected people) have already left hospital, but we had two deaths in Imathia of people aged over 70,” said Hatzivrettas, according to Kathimerini.

He said heavy rains had increased the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus as residents were warned to wear clothes covering as much skin as possible and use repellants.

Eleven people have died and 107 cases have been reported. Xanthos had told Sto Kokkino radio that, “Relevant directions were issued in good time, KEELPNO is making frequent reports and instructions have been given to the regional authorities for the necessary spraying (against mosquitoes,)”after criticism the government was slow to do spraying.

While he said he wasn’t anxious, he said people should contact their nearest health center if they suspect any cases of the virus he said aren’t spreading fast enough to cause any fear.

KEELPNO said there have been 107 cases so far this year, making Greece the third worst-hit
“Further cases are expected to be diagnosed in the coming period and West Nile virus infections are likely to occur in other geographical areas,” said KEELPNO.

The US Embassy in Athens issued a health alert regarding the virus to American citizens living in Greece or intending to visit the country.