West Nile Fever cases soar

Number of infections has tripled this year

(ANSA) - Rome, September 5 - Italy has been badly affected by an unusually large number of West Nile virus infections in Europe so far this year, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday. It said there have been 975 confirmed and probable autochthonous human WNV infections were reported by European countries: 710 in EU/EEA Member States and 265 in EU neighbouring countries. Italy had the highest number of reported cases (327), followed by Serbia (213), Greece (147), Romania (117), Hungary (96), Israel (49), France (11), Austria (8), Croatia (three, Kosovo (three) and Slovenia (one).
    The agency said the total number of cases was a 3.4-fold increase compared to the entire season last year. "To date, a total of 63 deaths due to West Nile virus infection have been reported by Serbia (21), Greece (16), Italy (13), Romania (12), and Kosovo (1)," the ECDC said . "In comparison to the previous six years, the proportion of fatal cases has not increased".