Following six cases of malaria in Greece, holidaymakers have been warned to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
The cases included five Greek adults and a Roma child, all have been reported since June this year and were seen in people with no history of travel to countries where malaria is more common, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
All six patients are recovering at present, there have been no deaths.
The cases have been identified in areas of marshy wetland – were mosquitos are more common. Including the districts of Laconia, in the south of the Peloponnese peninsula, and the island of Euboea, east of the Greek mainland.
Professor David Hill, director of the HPA’s National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) said: ‘The risk to holidaymakers of catching
malaria while in Greece remains extremely low, so there is no need to take anti-malarials when visiting this country, but travellers should take
measures to prevent being bitten.
‘We already advise people travelling to Greece to prevent insect bites to protect against another mosquito-borne infection caused by West Nile virus.
‘This can cause a nervous system disease and over 200 cases were reported in Greece last year. The recent cases of malaria in Greece reinforce the importance of taking precautions against being bitten while on holiday.’
Dr Jane Jones, a travel health expert at the HPA, added: ‘It is important that travellers returning from affected areas seek medical advice promptly if they experience symptoms of malaria, which include fever, headache and muscle pains.
‘The HPA is also advising health professionals to consider mosquito-borne illnesses in travellers returning from Greece with relevant symptoms and ensure they are tested appropriately.
‘The HPA and NaTHNaC will continue to monitor the situation in Greece closely and will offer any further advice to health professionals and the general public accordingly.’
These new cases make it the third year Greece has seen cases of malaria from local transmission.