First case of West Nile Virus in Cyprus reported in 2023

The Ministry of Health Medical and Public Health Services have been informed about the existence of the first case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Cyprus for 2023.

At the same time, they emphasise that there is no cause for concern because the virus is not transmitted from person to person. However, the Ministry of Health is on alert and taking all necessary precautions.

An official press release said sporadic cases of WNV occur in Cyprus from time to time, mainly during the summer months. According to data by the Epidemiological Surveillance and Control Unit for Infectious Diseases (ES&CUID), one case was reported in 2016, one case in 2018, and 24 cases in 2019.

The West Nile Virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected ordinary mosquitoes. People who are infected do not transmit the virus to others. The WNV is not transmitted from person to person, and it is not spread through regular social, sexual, or other contact. Additionally, it is not transmitted from infected patients to healthcare personnel. After being bitten by mosquitoes, there is usually a period of 2-14 days (incubation period) before symptoms appear.

In the majority of cases, individuals infected with the virus do not exhibit symptoms or experience mild symptoms. Very few individuals (less than 1%) develop severe illness affecting the nervous system (such as encephalitis, meningitis, or paralysis). Older individuals (above 50 years of age) and those with weakened immune systems or underlying chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing severe illness.