Greece Neighbours in West Nile Virus Alert


People across Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria have been warned to be alert to a possible spread of the West Nile Virus, despite the fact there have been no reported cases. Zarko Karadzovski, from the Macedonian Public Health Institute, warned at a press conference that people needed to be cautious as the entire Mediterranean basin was favourable for the development of the mosquito carrying the virus, WNV. He said on Wednesday: “The virus is transmitted by mosquito bites ... In 96-97 per cent of cases, the disease is curable, either spontaneously or by using flu therapy. "However, heavier forms can be fatal. "The symptoms of the disease are weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and rashes, whereas the heavier type can hit the neurological nerve system, causing encephalitis, Karadzovski explained. He said no suspicious cases of the disease had been registered in Macedonia, but added about 60 sub-species of the mosquito were capable of carrying it. Doctors have advised people to avoid going out during sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are most active. "One should wear clothes with long sleeves if entering into an area known for mosquito presence like picnic places, forests, marshes and so on" Karadzovski said. Two people are reported to have died from the disease in the north of Greece and another 20 have contracted it. Mayors in Northern Greece said they would expand aerial spraying in larger areas with stagnant water, open sewers and large concentrations of water and will inform the public via the media, brochures and posters. A female patient from the south-western Bulgarian town of Blagoevgrad near the Greek border was taken to hospital on August 11, the Sofia Echo reported on Thursday. The woman underwent examination, but there was no evidence so far to suggest she had contracted WNV. In Albania, where tens of thousands of migrants in Greece return home in August for their summer vacations, there are also no reported suspicious cases. Authorities have yet to take any steps to counter the spread of the virus.