The majority of West Nile virus infections in humans were in rural areas, especially in northern Greece, in communities with fewer than 15,000 habitants and in villages that had a lot of water, vegetation, birds and mosquitoes.
These areas also accounted for the greatest number of the more serious cases of the disease, where patients developed encephalitis, meningitis and/or acute mild paralysis. The above findings were based on figures collected from 2010 until the present day and analysed in the framework of the Greek-German research project "Early Warning System for Mosquito-borne Diseases - EWSMD", which started last year with the participation of two organisations from each country.
Speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), the president of EcoDevelopment SA and co-ordinator of the research project, Spyros Mourelatos, reported that out of a total of 325 municipalities, there are eight municipalities in mainly rural areas in Eastern Macedonia, Thrace and Central Macedonia where the West Nile virus incidence is above 5. This figure represents the average number of people whose central nervous system was affected by the virus in the last decade per 100,000 people.
One hundred and forty-three municipalities in the country show figures below 5 while in 174 municipalities there has never been a human incident.