Global Alert and Response (GAR)

1996 - Outbreak of viral meningitis in Romania

15 October 1996

Disease Outbreak Reported

Patients with meningoencephalitis continued to be registered in the infectious disease hospitals in Bucharest during October, but the number of new cases had decreased markedly since the first week of September. Sera from 200 of 527 suspect cases have been further investigated and 168 of them were positive for West Nile virus infection. Among the serologically confirmed cases, 32% had meningitis, 45% meningoencephalitis and 21% encephalitis. Most cases (71%) were from rural areas and originated from the Districts of Dolj, Galati and Constanta in the south. The remainder were from six sectors of Bucharest where the highest incidence rate (12,2 per 100,000 population) was registered in a sector where the population lives mainly in houses with gardens. The mosquito vector implicated in the outbreak was Culex pipiens.

The outbreak was investigated by the national health authorities together with the WHO Collaborating Centres at Pasteur Institut, Paris, France and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA.

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