As if Greece, at the helm of an ongoing European debt crisis, doesn’t have enough problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday issued a warning at the heels of 20 new cases of malaria from Greeks who had no travel history to malaria-infested areas.
Greece officially eradicated malaria in 1974, a disease that annually kills nearly 800,000 people, mostly children in Africa.
However, authorities reported 20 cases in the summer of 2011 in the Laconia region in southern Greece. The CDC issued a recommendation that “travelers to Laconia district in Greece take anti-malarial medicines to prevent malaria.”
Health authorities identified an additional 16 cases across Greece that could not be confirmed if transmission occurred locally or internationally.
The new malaria cases were highlighted in a report published Thursday in Eurosurveillance headed by researchers at the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Athens.
Sporadic cases of malaria have been reported before. Between 2005 and 2009, Greek health authorities reported on 171 cases of malaria, the researchers reported.
However, a malaria vaccine trial showed some promise for controlling the disease, commonly spread through infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The results for the malaria vaccine were published in October in the New England Journal of Medicine.