Malaria in Greece
Updated: October 19, 2012
What Is the Current Situation?Cases of malaria continue to be reported in Greece. Some new cases have occurred in areas of Greece where malaria had not been previously reported. Cases of malaria have been reported from the Attica, Karditsa, Laconia, Viotia, and Xanthi regions of Greece. Cases have occurred in the cities of Evrotas, Marathon, Markopoulo, and Selino. No cases have been reported in Athens. The Hellenic (Greek) CDC and the European CDC are improving surveillance for malaria cases. In affected areas, mosquito control has been intensified, health care providers have been educated, and the public has been informed.
What Is Malaria?Malaria is a disease spread through the bite of infected mosquitos. 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.
How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?All travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites when traveling in Greece. In addition, because of the recent cases of malaria, CDC recommends that travelers to the agricultural areas of Evrotas take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. If you are traveling to the affected areas of Evrotas, talk to your doctor about whether you should take medicine to prevent malaria. Whether you need to take medicine will depend on where you are traveling, the length of your trip, your planned activities, your health history, and other medicines you are taking.
Prevent Mosquito Bites:
- Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing.
- Use a repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
- Reapply repellent as directed on the package.
- Follow package directions for using repellent on children.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Protective clothing includes long sleeves, long pants, closed shoes, and hats.
- Tuck in shirts, and tuck pants into socks.
- Wear clothing treated with permethrin for extra protection.
- Protect the area where you are staying.
- Stay in screened or air-conditioned rooms or sleep under a treated bed net.
- Stay indoors during times mosquitoes are most likely to bite, primarily between dusk and dawn.
After TravelTake all fevers seriously during travel and up to 1 year after return from a country with malaria. If you have a fever or other symptoms of malaria, see a doctor right away. Tell the doctor that you have traveled to an area with malaria.
Clinician Information:For up-to-date malaria chemoprophylaxis and dosing, see Antimalarial Drugs, Including Dosing Information.
Travelers who have symptoms of malaria should seek medical evaluation as soon as possible. Physicians should consider malaria in any patient with a febrile illness who has recently returned from a malaria-endemic country.
Smear microscopy remains the gold standard for malaria diagnosis. Microscopy can also be used to determine the species of malaria parasite and quantify the parasitemia—both of which are necessary pieces of information for providing the most appropriate treatment. Microscopy results should be available within a few hours. It is an unacceptable practice to send these tests to an offsite laboratory or batch them with results provided days later.
Malaria can be treated effectively early in the course of the disease, but delay of appropriate therapy can have serious or even fatal consequences. Travelers who have symptoms of malaria should be advised to seek medical evaluation as soon as possible. Specific treatment options depend on the species of malaria, the likelihood of drug resistance (based on where the infection was acquired), the age of the patient, pregnancy status, and the severity of infection.
Detailed CDC recommendations for malaria treatment can be found at www.cdc.gov/malaria/diagnosis_treatment/treatment.html. Clinicians who require assistance with the diagnosis or treatment of malaria should call the CDC Malaria Hotline (770-488-7788 or toll-free at 1-855-856-4713) from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time. After hours or on weekends and holidays, clinicians requiring assistance should call the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 and ask the operator to page the person on call for the Malaria Branch.
Additional Information:Malaria Cases: Greece Update (CDC Malaria Branch)
CDC Malaria homepage
Malaria (CDC Yellow Book, Health Information for International Travel)