231 cases of West Nile fever reported in the EU
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is currently warning of an unusual number of cases of West Nile fever within the European Union. According to the agency, 120 illnesses were reported in EU member states between August 3 and 9, 2018. Eleven people have already fallen victim to many of the dangerous illnesses that are transmitted by the bite of the tiger mosquito.
In a weekly report, the ECDC provides information about the increased risk of illness in other EU countries. Italy was particularly hard hit. 72 cases of West Nile fever were reported here. In Greece, 16 people were infected, three people died as a result. Romania also reports 16 cases. There were 13 infections in Hungary and three in France. Outbreaks also occurred in neighboring EU countries. Serbia reported 32 infections and five deaths, and Kosovo reported two cases, with one fatal outcome.
A lot of cases this year
In total, the ECDC reports 231 cases in EU member states and 104 cases in neighboring EU countries. There were a total of 17 deaths. This is the most violent outbreak in recent years.
Are tropical diseases increasingly common in Europe?
It has been warned for some time that dangerous pathogens are spreading widely on the Adriatic. Experts also keep in mind that immigrated tiger mosquitoes can be carriers of serious infectious diseases. The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine recently confirmed that the tropical Chikungunya virus could also spread to Germany, for example.
How does West Nile fever manifest itself?
Mosquitoes are mainly considered to be carriers of West Nile fever. The infection runs unnoticed and symptom-free in many affected people. Only about one in five infected people show flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. Some sufferers also experience swelling of the lymph nodes. Furthermore, about a third of all patients develop rashes. In rare cases, meningitis can occur.
How dangerous is West Nile fever?
The virus is particularly dangerous for older people. It can lead to serious complications that can sometimes be fatal. The World Health Organization reports that on average, one in 150 diseases is fatal. In the current cases, however, there have already been 17 deaths from 335 reported diseases. However, since symptoms do not occur in every infected person, it is likely that a large part of the infections has not been reported at all.
Mosquito repellent is considered the best prevention
The best way to prevent West Nile fever and other mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid getting stung. In addition to the common mosquito sprays, there are numerous other ways to dispel the annoying pests with natural home remedies. Mosquito nets in front of the windows prevent the mosquitoes from entering the house. Long and light clothing also protects against stings. Likewise, smells like garlic or certain essential oils can drive away the uninvited guests. (vb)