Greece introduces blood donation ban, citing malaria outbreak

ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 21 (UPI) — An outbreak of malaria infections prompted officials to ban blood donations in twelve Greek municipalities.

The Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention instituted the ban after 65 cases of malaria were identified since the start of the year, compared to 85 for all of 2015. Of the 65 “registered” cases, 61 people were infected on the Indian subcontinent or in one of seven Africa, where malaria is widespread, before they arrived in Greece; the remaining four were infected in Greece.

Of the 61 people infected elsewhere, 50 were immigrants and 11 were travelers returning from malaria-infected countries, the center reported.

The districts identified for denial of blood donation are Farkadona, Trikaia, Palama, Evrota, Halkidaia, Thiva, Tempe, Marathonos, Western Achaia, Andravida-Kyllini, Lagada and Pylaia.

Malaria was eradicated from Greece in the 1970s before new cases were reported four years ago. Many municipal spraying protocols, to kill mosquitoes which carry the disease, were curtailed because of budget cuts.

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