Doctors looking for killer virus

The Health Ministry yesterday instructed doctors to investigate the unexpected deaths of at least 15 people in recent months to establish whether they were caused by the potentially deadly intestinal coxsackie virus. Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis instructed the Special Infections Control Center (KEEL) to look into the sudden deaths, including one of a 3-year-old child, between last September and this March. Some of the deaths have been attributed to inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and the surrounding membrane (perimyocarditis), which are symptoms of coxsackie. Three years ago, an outbreak of coxsackie in Greece led to three people dying and some 46 more being hospitalized. The government was forced to shut down all educational establishments for three days to allay fears of an epidemic.