High-burden epidemics in Greece in the era of economic crisis. Early signs of a public health tragedy


Background. Economic hardships have unleashed epidemics of infectious diseases in many countries in the past. In the era of the current financial crisis in Greece, it is interesting to assess the preliminary evidence concerning outbreaks of infectious dis- eases. Methods. Description and evaluation of published surveillance data. Results. Greece has been suffering a high burden of different large-scale epidemics during the last three years. These include the increased mortality of influenza during the pandemic and the first post-pandemic seasons, the emergence and spread of West Nile virus, the appearance of clusters of non-imported malaria and the outbreak of Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection among people who inject drugs. Conclusion. The economic turmoil in Greece seems to impact the infectious disease dynamics. It is essential to safeguard and even bolster budgetary allocations to the public health sector, in order to alleviate the effects of the economic downturn.