With 15 people who have succumbed to the disease, 39 are currently hospitalized, 9 of whom are in intensive care as the total number of cases rises to over 160. Most stem from areas in Macedonia that are in close proximity to lakes and rivers. Nearly all of the victims have suffered from the serious condition of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by the illness.
In response, the Greek government has allocated an additional €250,000 beyond the €300,000 initially pledged to help ensure prevention in the area. The West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and has become a growing health concern globally as its range widens with climate change.
Spokeswoman for Greece’s Hellenic Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases, Dr. Doritsa Bakka, noted that the spread of the disease had worsened from this year’s hot, wet summer that created ideal breeding grounds for the insects.
In a recent article published in the infectious disease journal “Eurosurveillance,” Italian researchers studying organ donors found to their surprise that certain serum samples testing positive for the virus originated in regions where infection previously wasn’t known to be a risk.
In a related “Eurosurveillance” editorial, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned that heightened monitoring and preparedness for West Nile virus is needed in Europe as human cases increase.
We thank Dr. Bakka, the Hellenic Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases, and the Greek government for your concerned alert about the increased vulnerability to this disease.
Our heartfelt prayers for the recovery of those suffering from the West Nile virus, and that we may speed our actions to halt climate change and restore the vitality of both humans and the Earth.
Speaking with concern for humanity’s welfare during a July 2008 videoconference with our Association members in Washington, USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained the most efficient way to curb such perils related to global warming.