Greece bans blood donations in 12 districts over malaria – reports
Twelve districts of Greece have banned blood donations because of malaria, with four cases this year contracted domestically, local media report. In the 61 other cases recorded, the sufferers became infected on the Indian subcontinent and African states, where the disease is endemic. The districts affected stretch from the Peloponnese to Thessaloniki.
Domestic cases were first reported four years ago – nearly four decades after the disease was wiped out in Greece. US doctor and epidemiologist Donald Henderson, who led a successful campaign to wipe out smallpox worldwide, has died at the age of 87. Hailed as a “giant” in the field of public health for his work in the 1960s and 70s, Henderson died of complications after breaking a hip. One of the world’s deadliest diseases, smallpox killed hundreds of millions of people in the last century alone. Apart from causing great pain, it often caused lesions on the face and body. And it killed about one in three of those infected. It was officially declared to have been eradicated in 1980 – the first infectious disease to have been fought on a global scale. The World Health Organization appointed Henderson, known as D.A, to lead its drive to stamp out the disease in 1966. At the time it was still endemic in Africa and Asia. Few gave him much chance of success. But Henderson focussed on isolating outbreaks of the disease and systematically vaccinating people, rather than a mass vaccination programme. After his work for the WHO, Henderson went on to serve as science and bioterrorism adviser to three US presidents as well holding other academic and medical posts.