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CDC issues malaria outbreak update for Greece

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In a follow-up to a story last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the malaria outbreak in Greece continues to grow, in some cases, reaching areas of the country where the parasitic disease has not been previously reported, according to a CDC Outbreak Notice Oct. 19.

Last week, the CDC received updated data on the Greece outbreak, which increased by 14 cases to a total of 70 cases in the first nine months of 2012.

The 14 cases, all Plasmodium vivax infections, were broken down by locally-acquired (4) and 10 in immigrants to Greece.

Three of the new cases occurred in areas where malaria had not been previously identified- Xanthi, Viotia and Karditsa

Cases have occurred in the cities of Evrotas, Marathon, Markopoulo, and Selino. No cases have been reported in Athens.

The CDC still advises travelers to Greece to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. Health officials also say that travelers to the agricultural areas of Evrotas take malaria prophylaxis.

Prior to travel to Greece, consult your physician or travel medicine specialist concerning medicine that may be required to protect yourself.

The federal health agency says malaria is a disease spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and other symptoms similar to the flu. Left untreated, people with malaria may develop severe complications and die. Malaria is a major health problem that causes 350–500 million infections worldwide and about 1 million deaths each year. Malaria occurs in large areas of Africa, Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. From 1999 through 2008, 8,117 cases of travel-associated malaria among US residents were reported to CDC.

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