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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:56 PM

Yay, Austerity! Greece Facing Return Of Malaria In Absence Of $ For Spraying, Epidemiology

(Reuters) - Greek authorities must urgently step up control of mosquitoes and surveillance of infected people to stop malaria from re-establishing itself in the crisis-hit country, scientists said on Friday. Writing in online journal Eurosurveillance, they said recent outbreaks of the disease in the southern regions of Lakonia and East Attica were worrying.

Tackling malaria requires measures such as insecticide spraying, eliminating standing water and tracking mosquito populations as well as people infected with the disease.

"It is clear that surveillance and vector control programs should be strengthened and rapidly intensified," said the study, led by researchers at the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) in Athens.

Greece's healthcare system is under extreme pressure from budget cuts, and experts fear groups such as the poor, unemployed or homeless, many of them immigrants, are not getting treatment they need. Malaria, which causes high fever and chills and kills hundreds of thousands of people a year worldwide, was once endemic in Greece but was officially eliminated in 1974.



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