An unprecedented outbreak of mosquito-borne disease in Greece last year has caused health officials to urge holidaymakers to take precautions against West Nile virus.

Danai Pervanidou, head of the national organisation for public health (Keelpno) said that there is a public health issue.

“The virus has established itself in Greece through migratory birds and we are recommending that everyone takes personal protective measures such as wearing long sleeves, avoiding places with stagnant water and using mosquito nets and repellent,” she said.

Last year, a record 316 people were infected with the virus, including 50 deaths.

Those who are infected usually do not display any symptoms, while 20 per cent experience mild flu, and only 1 per cent go on to develop a serious illness.

Visitors to Greece are urged to take precautionary measures.