ECDC Risk Assessment on West Nile Virus Infection in the European Union

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ECDC has published a rapid risk assessment on the epidemiological situation of West Nile virus infection in the European Union.

In the ongoing 2011 West Nile virus transmission season, cases have been reported from newly affected geographical areas. 86 human cases of West Nile fever have been reported in the EU, with 74 cases in Greece, eight in Romania, and four cases in Italy. In the neighbouring countries, 125 cases have been declared.

West Nile virus transmission is now established in several European countries and its further spread is expected in the coming years. Multi-sectoral collaboration and intensified surveillance made it possible to detect West Nile virus in new areas and identify WNV lineage 1 and lineage 2, which are now both circulating in Europe.

EU Member States are responding to this situation with the implementation of preventive measures, particularly the safeguarding of blood supplies. In addition, efforts should be made to further strengthen laboratory capacity for reliable WN diagnosis, fostering collaboration between public health and veterinary authorities and to increase our current knowledge of the disease.

The rapid risk assessment is available here. [Source: ECDC]