The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has released the latest figures for West Nile virus outbreaks in Europe. Italy, Romania, Serbia and Greece have seen the largest number of infections and deaths from the disease.

West Nile Virus is spread between humans, animals and birds by mosquitoes. NaTHNaC (an excellent resource) states that ‘most people who become infected with WNV do not have symptoms. Approximately 20 percent develop symptoms which may include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, nausea, and skin rash.‘ The large proportion of asymptomatic carriers can make it harder to identify and protect against exposure.

There is no vaccination for the disease, so travellers are strongly advised to minimise their risks of being bitten by mosquitoes, by using insect repellent and wearing outfits with trousers and long sleeves.

The CDC reports that ‘about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.‘ People with a compromised immune system, elderly people, those who have pre-existing conditions are at an increased risk of developing these complications.


Infections and deaths in Europe

All of the following information comes from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Weekly updates: 2018 West Nile fever transmission season, updated on the 14th September.

Between the 7th and 13th September 2018 the following human West Nile virus infections were reported:

  • Romania (66)
  • Italy (34)
  • Israel (32)
  • Greece (24)
  • Serbia (24)
  • Hungary (21)
  • Austria (3)
  • Bulgaria (2)

In four areas, human cases were reported for the first time: Romania (2), Hungary (1) and Serbia (1). All other human cases were reported from areas that have been affected during previous transmission seasons.

This week, 19 deaths were reported by Romania (7), Greece (6), Italy (3) and Serbia (3).

Infection cases to date in 2018, as of 13 September 2018 –

  • Italy (361)
  • Serbia (286)
  • Greece (192)
  • Romania (183)
  • Hungary (155)
  • Israel (81)
  • Croatia (25)
  • France (16)
  • Austria (13)
  • Kosovo (3)
  • Bulgaria (2)
  • Slovenia (1)

To date, 90 deaths due to West Nile virus infection in 2018 have been reported by –

  • Serbia (29)
  • Italy (21)
  • Greece (19)
  • Romania (19)
  • Hungary (1)
  • Kosovo (1)
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