First certain H1N1 death confirmed

A 29-year-old Frenchman, hospitalized in Athens at the end of last week after displaying symptoms of the H1N1 virus, yesterday died of multiple organ failure, becoming the first swine flu patient in Greece whose death has been linked exclusively to the virus, as he had not been suffering from any other ailments. A statement issued by the Health Ministry’s operations center confirmed that the 29-year-old Frenchman had died in the intensive-care unit of Athens’s Sismanogleio Hospital. «This is the first death in our country from the new virus where the patient had no underlying affliction,» the statement said, noting that the 29-year-old had «suffered heavy pneumonia, provoked by the H1N1 virus, which led to extremely acute respiratory problems.» Two other people whose deaths have been linked to swine flu, a 25-year-old Albanian man and a 23-year-old Greek man, both had been suffering from serious heart problems when they contracted the virus. While the number of people who have tested positive for H1N1 has passed the 2,000 mark, reports last night put the number of serious cases at 14. Of these, 13 are said to be in intensive care while six of the patients are reportedly to be otherwise healthy. According to Panagiotis Efstathiou, the head of the ministry’s operations center, the most worrying of the serious cases are those of a 30-year-old Frenchwoman who was transferred to intensive care on Monday with serious respiratory problems and a 58-year-old Greek woman who is obese. According to the results of research carried out by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, between 20 percent and 50 percent of serious cases of swine flu recorded in different countries have affected young and otherwise healthy people. The same research showed that between 50 and 80 percent of those who contracted swine flu had been suffering from other ailments.