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Greeks are not being vaccinated against the flu, the next 3-4 weeks are critical for the epidemic

21 January 2016 / 17:01:42  GRReporter
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This year the Greeks are facing the flu epidemic "unprotected," hardly using the main prophylactic measure that is available to them, namely to be vaccinated against influenza. Resorting to it is ranging from very low to zero rates, even where it is considered urgent, for example among the so-called risk groups of population. And we all know what this could mean for the outcome of a seemingly ordinary flu, in terms of society and the health system.

According to epidemiological data from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 cases of influenza had been reported up until yesterday, Wednesday. There are 50 patients in intensive care units, all with serious complications from the flu.

Profile of influenza patients

From a total of 82 patients, 46 are men and 36 women. The average age of patients with influenza hospitalized in intensive care units is 55 years. Experts believe that the average age will continue to be low, as the pandemic strain A (H1N1) is prevailing this year, which has been proven to affect mainly young people and people in a productive age.

This "preference" of the influenza virus Α (Η1Ν1) is evidenced by another important element of the epidemiological monitoring, namely the spread of influenza among healthy people and people who suffer from a concomitant, chronic or other disease. Of the 82 patients admitted to the intensive wards, 28 said they were completely healthy, having no burdened health history.

However, an even more frustrating fact in connection with the attitude of Greeks to vaccination is that only three of all these 82 persons suffering from flu had been vaccinated against influenza. And at a time when doctors are stressing (or at least they should be doing so) the need for vulnerable groups to be vaccinated, as the vaccine reduces the likelihood of becoming ill on the one hand and on the other hand, and more importantly, it limits the complications from the flu, which actually take people to intensive care wards.

Greeks - unvaccinated, the health care system with insufficient intensive care wards

The people who are not vaccinated against influenza and the shortage of beds in intensive care wards are a dangerous combination for public health and the effects of the flu wave.

Since the beginning of the year when the flu appeared, 82 patients have been admitted to intensive care wards and 13 have already died. Two of the death cases occurred outside the intensive care wards, making impossible to specify whether the people died because they were unable to get to the hospital. Among the patients there were three children, a nine-month old baby and two children aged 4 and 8.

Bearing in mind the fact that the experts from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention are emphasizing that the epidemic is still in its initial phase and that the next 3-4 weeks are considered to be particularly critical, it is clear what dimensions the flu epidemic could assume. Anyway, even now experts are indicating that being vaccinated can provide protection, urging mainly the vulnerable groups of the population, such as patients with chronic cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory problems, to be vaccinated against influenza.

 

Tags: FluVaccineEpidemicCentre for Disease Control and Prevention
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