Deadly Mosquito Virus Hits Greece As Holidaymakers Warned
Summer is almost upon us, which means one thing, holidays. You will no doubt have drawn up a shortlist - or a long one - of sun-soaked destinations for you and your mates to visit.
But before you book anything, you may want to take notice of a warning put out by the Foreign Office, urging holidaymakers to take care when travelling to Greece.
According to the government department, the Mediterranean country has seen a rise in the deadly West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquito bites and killed 50 people last year.
It also infected another 266 people during that time.
The advice reads: "There were more than 300 cases of West Nile virus in Greece in 2018.
"You should consider preventative measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes, for example using mosquito repellent when outdoors and closing doors or windows or using screens."
Around 20 percent of those infected will suffer flu-like symptoms, while one in 150 will have a more severe reaction, such as meningitis and even seizures.
Older holidaymakers are being warned to take extra care.
Speaking to The Guardian, Danai Pervanidou, head of The Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Keelpno), offered some advice for people travelling to the holiday hot spot this year.
He said: "The virus has established itself in Greece through migratory birds and we are recommending that everyone takes personal protective measures such as wearing long sleeves, avoiding places with stagnant water and using mosquito nets and repellent."
But it's not just Greece that has witnessed incidents of the deadly virus in recent years.
A 2018 report said: "There is still a bit of a mindset that mosquito-borne diseases tend to be a tropical issue-actually they are coming much closer to home these days."
And according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), several European countries had seen hundreds of cases of the virus, including Italy (123 cases), Serbia (126) and Hungary (31 cases).
Featured Image Credit: PA