By Magda Panoutsopoulou
ATHENS (AA) – Two elderly Greeks – both over 80 – are the first victims of this year's West Nile virus, Greek health officials reported Thursday.
Some 55 outbreaks of the disease have been reported since early summer, according to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP), a private institution that works under the supervision of the country's health ministry.
Twelve patients were hospitalized Wednesday with symptoms in the central nervous system, including four who had to be taken to intensive care, said the center,
Most people infected by the mosquito-borne virus are asymptomatic, with 20 percent having mild symptoms of viral involvement, and less than 1 percent having more severe effects on the central nervous system – mainly encephalitis, meningitis, and acute relaxed paralysis – according to the HCDCP.
The virus is transmitted mainly by stinging from infected mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes themselves are infected mainly by wild birds.
A full detailed report will be released later today, the center told Anadolu Agency.