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Intensive Care Units full due to H1N1

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Alarm bells are sounding at the Ministry of Health concerning the seasonal flu because of the increased number of deaths, which have tripled in the last ten days...

Alarm bells are sounding at the Ministry of Health concerning the seasonal flu because of the increased number of deaths, which have tripled in the last ten days, but also in terms of the refusal of the populace, especially those belonging to high risk groups, to receive the flu vaccine.

The issue was discussed extensively at noon on Monday during a meeting at the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO). According to the latest figures presented by the center, since the beginning of the year 146 people have been moved to Intensive Care Units(ICU), due to respiratory failure, resulting in the deaths of 34 people caused by seasonal influenza.

Experts stressed that influenza activity is high in Greece, as well as in Italy, other Balkan countries and Scandinavia. Indeed, they noted that they next expect a peak period of influenza, in particular of the strain A pandemic (H1N1).

Refusal to vaccinate.
Greeks seem to say “no” to the flu vaccine, according to data presented by Mrs Jenny Kremastinos, Professor of Public Health. Only 5.9% of Greeks have taken advantage of vaccinations, while in previous years that figure was around 10.5%. According to the professor, “this is a crisis of public confidence in the health system, the ministry and the scientific community, which shows the mistakes made during the pandemic”

However, there was evidence presented through the findings of scientific assessments of the “predilection” of the H1N1 virus for people with chronic serious health problems, but also young and healthy people

Of the 130 patients with influenza moved to ICUs, 52% belonged to high risk groups. Also, out of those belonging to high-risk groups, only 3.8% had received vaccination.

The people who have passed away in the past three weeks also appear to have been “defenseless”. Of a total of 27 people who have passed away due to the flu, none had received a vaccination.

H1N1 is more infectious.
The head of KEELPNO called upon the populace to receive the vaccine, stressing that the virus is more infectious than other strains of influenza. “In many cases it causes severe viral pneumonia, which develops rapidly”, stated Professor of Infectious Diseases, Sotiris Tsiodras, adding that it is very important that there is a timely administration of antiviral drugs.

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