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Visitors to Greece Told to Watch Out for West Nile Virus

Wellness Travel Safety News
by Eben Diskin Jun 18, 2019

Travelers don’t typically associate Greece with deadly mosquito-borne diseases, but travelers to the Mediterranean country now need to watch out for the West Nile virus.

According to The Guardian, ahead of the busy summer season, Greece’s Foreign Office included mosquitos in the list of threats tourists are facing this season, as 316 were infected by the virus in 2018 and 50 Greeks died.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most infected persons exhibit no symptoms, but about 20 percent develop fever and other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. About one out of 150 people infected with the virus develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

To prevent an outbreak even worse than last year’s, the government has launched an education campaign, distributing leaflets that detail the dangers of the disease and preventative measures.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the West Nile virus in people. Preventive measures to protect yourself against the mosquito-borne disease include:

  • Using insect repellent
  • Wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants
  • Sleeping under a mosquito net or choosing a hotel with air conditioning and screens on doors

According to The Guardian, Italy, Cyprus, Romania, and Serbia have also reported an increase in the infection rate of the West Nile virus, so even if Greece isn’t on your itinerary this summer, you should probably taking cautionary measures no matter where you’re traveling.

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