Nearly 190 people in the EU have already been infected with the West Nile Virus this year, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports in its latest weekly report.
According to the report, released on Friday, 188 cases have been reported since the start of the transmission season in June through Wednesday. By far the most, 144, were in Italy, where 10 people have died. Other infections were registered in Greece (39), Austria (2), Romania (2) and Slovakia (1).
Serbia, which borders the EU, has reported 34 infections and three deaths so far.
West Nile Virus occurs in mosquitoes and birds and can be transmitted to humans. It usually takes a few days for someone to fall ill after being infected. Many have no complaints, while some develop mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and muscle aches.
A very small proportion can develop serious complaints, such as brain inflammation, with a risk of death. There is no protective vaccination.
According to the ECDC, the West Nile Virus transmission season usually lasts from June to November.