Since the beginning of the 2021 West Nile virus (WNV) transmission season, up to 12 August 2021, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has reported 19 cases of West Nile fever in EU and EEA countries, comprising of ten cases in Greece, six in Italy, two in Austria, and one in Romania. In Serbia, there have been reported cases in two persons, both of whom have died.
West Nile fever is caused by WNV and occurs annually in southern and central Europe. The virus is spread by mosquito bites and can cause a flu-like illness and, in rare cases, severe disease.
Advice for travellers
- There is no vaccine against WNV.
- Mosquito bite avoidance should be practiced at all times, especially during peak transmission times and when outbreaks are known to be occurring.
- Medical advice should be sought if symptoms develop, following travel to a risk area.
- Blood donors should note that if they have travelled to an area where WNV has been detected in the past four months, they may need to be tested for the virus before donating blood. All travel must be mentioned to the blood transfusion service so that they can determine whether a test is required. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) has produced a leaflet which details information about blood donation after travel.
Further advice and information is available on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: TRAVAX, 18 August 2021