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Three victims of the flu in Greece

14 January 2016 / 18:01:06  GRReporter
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The death of three people, who died from complications caused by the flu virus, has alarmed the health authorities in Greece.

Epidemiologists have warned that the pandemic strain A (H1N1) is the virus that is spreading this year too. It causes very severe illness and affects even younger people. One of the three victims registered up until yesterday was a 36-year-old woman, but she had been suffering also from another disease.

"People who belong to high risk groups should be examined by a doctor immediately upon the appearance of suspicious symptoms," Associate Professor of Pathology of Infections Sotiris Tsiodras told the Greek newspaper Ethnos. According to him, the vulnerable groups of the population could be vaccinated even now.

Influenza symptoms appear unexpectedly and last up to seven days. The exception is cough that continues after the first week. The symptoms include fever, aching muscles and joints, headache, extreme tiredness, runny nose, sore throat and cough (mostly dry).

In the event of a high and persistent temperature, suffocation, painful chest or pressure on it, seizures and frequent and prolonged vomiting, citizens should immediately seek medical assistance. The same applies for people with chronic diseases of the heart and the respiratory system, and diabetes.

The Centre for Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases indicates that compliance with hygiene rules is the most effective way to protect yourself and the people around you. These include avoiding contact with sick people, staying home if you are sick, washing hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing. Also, do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth, and ventilate rooms often and well.

The influenza virus gripped Greece after the New Year holidays. The first fatal case was registered last week and the percentage of people who are visiting hospitals with symptoms of influenza is constantly growing and has already surpassed 7.5 per cent.

Up until last Friday, the intensive care units of Greek hospitals had already treated 14 people whose laboratory tests proved that they suffered from flu. 5.2 per cent of the total number of samples tested is positive for the presence of influenza. Positive samples most often contain the pandemic strain of the virus and rarely the strain A (H3N2). Experts state that there is no risk of virus mutation.

Most of the patients treated in the intensive care units are men aged between 36 and 86 years. The majority of them belong to the high-risk groups of the population for which it is advisable to be vaccinated against the flu.

The Doctors Association in Athens has urged the Ministry of Health to provide extra beds for intensive care units. Doctors reported that an intubated patient died in Sotiria hospital for lung diseases, as he was treated in an ordinary hospital room due to lack of a bed in the intensive care unit.

Tags: SocietyFlu infectionsFlu virusPandemic strainVictimsComplications among high-risk populations
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