New data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that almost 1,500 cases of West Nile fever have been reported in European Union (EU) Member States alone so far this year.
While the number of cases being reported has started to decrease, between 26 and 30 October 2018, EU Member States reported three human West Nile virus (WNV) infections in Hungary and Bulgaria, bringing the total number of cases reported by Member States this season to 1,463. EU neighbouring countries reported 12 cases for the five-day period, bringing the number of human cases reported to 534 so far.
To date, 170 deaths due to WNV infection have been reported by Italy, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
In its latest Communicable Disease Threats Report, the ECDC said, given it has been a particularly intense transmission season for WNV, “precautionary measures for travellers and residents, mainly the elderly and immunocompromised individuals, to affected areas, must be highlighted”.
Under European directives, prospective blood donors should be deferred for 28 days after leaving an area with evidence of West Nile virus circulation, unless the results of an individual nucleic acid test are negative.