Thirty-nine people in Greece have died after contracting flu since last October, most of whom had not been vaccinated, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO). Among the victims was an infant under the age of 12 months which had a pre-existing medical condition.
KEELPNO said there has been a spike in cases over the last 10 days, when 21 out of this flu season’s 39 deaths occurred, while more than 50 patients were put in intensive care. The overwhelming majority of those cases involved people in high-risk groups – the elderly, young children and people with chronic ailments.
Since last October, 165 patients, including nine children, have received treatment in intensive care units.
Health authorities again on Thursday urged people to get a flu jab and recommended that members of the public that develop symptoms should consult a doctor within 48 hours.
“There is an onslaught of the flu every year... The public and the relevant authorities must be vigilant,” said Sotirios Tsiodras, associate professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases at the medical school of Athens University, during a press conference hosted by KEELPNO on Thursday.
Tsiodras added that 30,000-40,000 people die each year in Europe because of the flu while at least 10-15 percent of the population is infected.
Health authorities said on Thursday that 2,226,530 vaccines have been imported into the country.
According to Yiannis Baskozos, general secretary of the Health Ministry, another 50,000 vaccines have been ordered and will be available at pharmacies by the end of next week.