Elderly man first victim of West Nile virus in Greece this summer

Updated: 2012-07-20 10:00


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A Greek elderly man died from encephalitis after his infection with the West Nile virus in Athens, the first casualty of the disease this summer in Greece, Greek authorities announced on Thursday.

The 75-year-old pensioner, who was suffering from chronic illnesses, was hospitalized in central Athens, along other people who have contracted the potentially fatal virus over the past two weeks.

A total of nine cases have been recorded this summer, all in Athens, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO). Most of the patients are elderly.

Experts advise the public to take measures to ward off mosquitoes, which can transmit the virus, such as use insecticides and wear clothes with long sleeves that cover the most parts of the body in areas with many mosquitoes.

Last summer across Greece nine people died among more than 100 infected from the virus, which can cause severe inflammation of the brain and other fatal diseases.

Outbreaks of the virus have been linked to high temperatures and Greece has been hit by a heat wave over the past two weeks.