The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has recorded the first cases, including one death, of human West Nile virus during the 2019 transmission season in the European region.
As of 25 July, 13 human West Nile virus infections have been reported in European Union (EU) Member States and EU neighbouring countries by Greece (10), Romania (2) and Italy (1). One death has been reported by Romania so far.
All of the cases were reported in July, with seven of the cases reported between 19 and 25 July. The ECDC noted all of these cases were reported from areas which have had human cases reported in the previous transmission seasons.
In the 2018 transmission season, a higher number of human West Nile virus cases were reported in the EU/European Economic Area countries and EU neighbouring countries compared with transmission seasons in previous years.
The total number of reported autochthonous infections in the European region in 2018 (n=2,083) exceeded, by far, the total number from the previous seven years (n=1,832).
Compared to the 2017 transmission season, there was a 7.2-fold increase in West Nile virus notifications in 2018. The highest increases (2018 vs 2017) were observed in Bulgaria (15-fold), followed by France (13.5-fold) and Italy (10.9-fold).