Joint WHO (Headquarters and WHO/Europe)/ECDC malaria mission, Greece

10-15 October 2011, Greece


Between 23 May and 5 December 2011, Greece reported 40 cases of Plasmodium vivax infection in persons without a travel history to an endemic country. Within the context of this outbreak, two support missions were carried out to assess the situation in Greece: the first mission (19-25 September 2011) was carried out by ECDC and the second one (10-15 October 2011) was jointly conducted by ECDC, WHO and the Hellenic Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), who jointly visited all the affected districts. The assessment teams reviewed the risks related to the potential re-establishment of malaria transmission in Greece, and proposed measures to prevent the re-introduction and re-establishment of malaria transmission in the specific areas and across the country.

Overall objectives

  • support the Greek Ministry of Health in carrying out an in-depth assessment of the malaria situation;
  • review the risks related to potential re-establishment of malaria transmission in Greece;
  • propose any further measures to prevent the possibility of re-introduction and re-establishment of malaria transmission in the specific areas and distribution across the country.

Specific objectives

  • attend a Ministry of Health briefing on the malaria situation and measures being taken, in order to control the re-introduction of malaria transmission and prevent its re-establishment;
  • assess the existing capacity for malaria surveillance, including case (locally acquired and imported cases over the last three years) and foci investigation, define surge capacity and further expertise necessary to cope with the malaria situation, taking into consideration current surveillance data;
  • review any additional issues related to laboratory support and laboratory confirmation of cases, and treatment of imported and locally acquired cases;
  • examine factors influencing vulnerability such as population movement, migration patterns, and seasonal work in the malaria foci;
  • review the measures implemented by the Greek authorities to control malaria transmission in Greece and to propose any further activities, if needed, to prevent a possible re-introduction and re-establishment of malaria transmission;
  • brief the Ministry of Health on outcomes of the mission and to advise on any additional steps deemed appropriate to manage the malaria foci.

Team composition

  • Dr Aafje Rietveld, WHO/GMP, Geneva (WHO team lead and rapporteur)
  • Professor Dr Rossitza Mintcheva, WHO/GMP consultant, Geneva
  • Dr Elkhan Gasimov, WHO/Azerbaijan, Baku
  • Dr Hervé Zeller, ECDC, Stockholm
  • Dr Wim van Bortel, ECDC, Stockholm (12-14 October only)