The Hellenic Centre for Disease Control has reported a total of 6 locally acquired cases of malaria in the country since June 2011. Greece has been free from malaria since 1974. The first case was a young Roma child and the other 5 are adult Greek citizens who were not part of a minority group. All cases have been laboratory confirmed as P.Vivax malaria. This parasite can cause relapsing disease but infection is unlikely to result in severe life-threatening malaria. None of the cases gave a history of travel to a malaria endemic area. The cases were identified in the districts of Elos and Skala in the Peloponnesus region which forms the southermost part of mainland Greece. Another case is reported from Romania in a traveller returned from Greece.
The anopheles mosquito capable of transmitting malaria is known to occur in Greece and therefore there is potential for limited outbreaks to occur just as similar outbreaks have occurred in recent years in Queensland or in Virginia, USA. The risk to travellers and tourists is considered to be low and antimalarial drugs are not regarded as necessary. However, anti- mosquito precautions are essential during the summer months not only because of malaria but because of other virus infections such as West Nile Fever.