Greece bans blood donations in 12 districts over malaria

22 August 2016
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12 Greek districts have banned blood donations because of malaria, with four cases this year contracted domestically, local media reported on Sunday.

In the 61 other cases recorded, the sufferers became infected on the Indian subcontinent and African states, where the disease is endemic.

The districts affected stretch from the Peloponnese to Thessaloniki.

Domestic cases were first reported four years ago – nearly four decades after the disease was wiped out in Greece.

Budget cuts saw municipal spraying schemes to combat mosquito-borne diseases being cut back.

The Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) and the National Centre for Blood Donation both issued warnings, according to local media.

The 12 districts affected are; Farkadona, Trikala, Palamas, Tempe, Achaean and Thebes (central Greece); Evrotas and Andravida-Kyllini (Peloponnesus); Chalcis (Euboea); Marathon (Attica); and Lagada and Pylaia (Thessaloniki).

According to KEELPNO data, 65 cases of malaria had been detected in Greece this year as of mid-August, compared to 85 for the whole of last year:
Four cases involved infection inside Greece
50 cases were among immigrants from the Indian subcontinent or seven African states
11 cases involved travellers returning from malaria-affected countries
Stringent rules govern blood donations from people who have been infected with malaria. In the US, for example, they may not donate blood for three years after treatment.

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