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Warning to Brits heading to Greece over ‘fatal’ bug that triggers seizures

HOLIDAYMAKERS heading to Greece this summer have been warned of an outbreak of a deadly disease carried by mosquitoes.

Health officials have confirmed two deaths from West Nile virus and nine further cases as of August 1 2023.

Two people in Greece have died after contracting West Nile virus

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Two people in Greece have died after contracting West Nile virusCredit: Alamy

According to the Greek National Health Care Organisation (EODY), cases have risen rapidly within the last nine day – with eight of the 11 infections having emerged since July 25.

West Nile virus a potentially fatal disease that can cause neurological disease in humans, such as such as encephalitis and meningitis.

Both conditions involve inflammation of the brain and are often deadly.

The EODY said infections have occurred in different regions of the country, including Thessaly, Central Macedonia, East Macedonia and Thrace.

The actual number of cases may be much higher than those recorded.

It is estimated that for every case of infection with there are approximately 140 people infected with the virus who exhibit only mild symptoms or are asymptomatic EODY said.

Greece is not alone in reporting a rise in cases of West Nile virus. Italy and Hungary have also seen an increase.

More than 1,300 locally acquired human cases of West Nile virus infection, including 104 deaths in 2022, according to the the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

They were the highest reported number of locally acquired cases since the peak epidemic year of 2018 – for which there were over 1,500 reported.

It comes as mozzies responsible for spreading several tropical diseases has reached some European countries for the first time.

Scientists say climate change, which brings with it frequent heatwaves and flooding, has created more favourable conditions for the critters.

The report ECDC, revealed the bugs are now established in 26 European countries – bringing diseases such as West Nile and dengue with them.

This means the little critters now have a foothold in popular holiday destinations like Spain, France and Portugal.

Brits heading to ‘high risk’ destinations should avoid mosquito bites when visiting high-risk areas by using insect sprays and mosquito nets, the NHS says.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?

MOST people with the virus have no symptoms.

But if you do, chances are you’ll develop mild flu-like symptoms, a skin rash and may feel sick.

The infection usually goes away on its own without treatment.

Signs of a severe infection can include flu-like symptoms and also:

  • muscle weakness
  • confusion
  • fits (seizures)

Severe infections need to get treated at hospital.

Source: NHS



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