First case of Nile Virus documented in Athens

The first case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection during 2011 was described as mild encephalitis by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) experts in announcements on Wednesday. The West Nile virus-caused encephalitis was identified in Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University (AUTH) Microbiology Laboratory and was diagnosed in an adult patient from the central city of Karditsa.

The patient is currently being treated at Larissa Hospital and his condition is improving, an AUTH Centre for Reference and Research on Arboviruses expert told ANA-MPA.

A further announcement from the state news agency in Athens said that the KEELPNO team will visit Thessaly in central Greece to brief local people on protection measures. According to KEELPNO, more West Nile virus cases are expected in Greece during the summer, underlining that West Nile virus infection cases have been reported in other European countries as well.

The first West Nile virus epidemic in Greece was last summer with 262 cases reported, 191 of which had central nervous system manifestations, while 37 of the patients died.

The virus has been known for many years and the main route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito. The infection caused is mild and most of the time asymptomatic with the elderly being more at risk of a central nervous system infection which, however, is easily curable, according to scientists.

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