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Greece protecting itself from swine influenza

27 April 2009 / 14:04:15  GRReporter
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The Ministries of Healthcare and Agriculture in Greece had an emergent session regarding the swine influenza. Experts noted that for now Greece is not in danger of a pig flu outbreak. Nevertheless, they undertook measures to watch the situation in the country and to make reports every 24 hours. The created group of swine influenza scientists includes scientists from the Pasteur Institute and the National Center of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. The group is in constant communication with the World Health Organization, with the European and American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with the World Veterinary Center.

“We have to note that the European and respectively the Greek strain of the swine influenza virus H1N1 was isolated in Europe in 1973 and it has no connection to the new strain of the virus, which appeared in Mexico and the USA. It cannot be passed to a human being and the European and Greek swine breeders are out of danger,” said an official announcement after the end of the session.

Despite this, the president of the Emergent Swine Influenza Group Panos Evstatiou appealed to Greeks not to travel to Mexico. The Greek embassy in the country announced that the number of Greek tourists in Mexico is insignificant. The Ministries of Healthcare and Foreign Affairs announced that they will send medicines and medicaments for the staff of the embassy in Mexico, as well as for the Greeks, who live there. Despite the increased airports control, Panos Evstatiou said that a positive fact is that there is not direct flight between Athens and Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Mexican authorities confirmed that the swine influenza victims until now are 103; 400 people have been admitted to hospitals with symptoms of the flu and another 1600 have doubts that they might have the virus. The US authorities confirmed another 2 cases of swine influenza in Kansas, which makes the total number of deceased to be 11. New Zealand said that a group of young people, who have recently returned from a vacation in Mexico, are showing symptoms of the virus.

The World Health Organization characterizes the US swine influenza boom as “international level threat to public health.” The symptoms of the swine influenza are high fever, tiredness, food repellence, cough and throat ache. For the last time, the H1N1 virus was stalking up in 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic and then, the virus took 50 million lives.

The European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who is visiting Athens today, announced that he is summoning a meeting of the EU Healthcare Ministers, who will discuss the condition of the public's protection from the deadly virus.

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