Pensioner taken ill in Athens after being bitten by mosquito

A pensioner was being treated for meningitis in an Athens hospital over the weekend after contracting West Nile virus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) said Sunday.

It is the first known case of the disease in Greece this summer. The 70-year-old woman is thought to have been bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus while at her home in Palaio Faliro, southern Athens. KEELPNO said blood donations from people in the area would stop for the next month even though this part of Athens is not though to be a high risk area for the virus. For this reason, authorities have been not been spraying chemicals to ward off mosquitoes in Palaio Faliro.

The West Nile virus, which can cause encephalitis, was discovered in 1937 in Uganda. Sporadic cases of the disease in humans have occurred in Europe since the 1960s. It was first detected in Greece in 2010, when 262 people contracted the disease, 35 of whom died.

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