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Influenza epidemic to continue because of cold weather

28 February 2011 / 17:02:01  GRReporter
3837 reads

Marina Nikolova

There are already 125 deaths caused by the H1N1 virus and 107 people are currently treated in Greek hospitals emergencies. Cold weather is suitable condition for the flu to spread more easily and it could be the reason for the flu’s long effect, experts said at a press conference at the Center for Infectious Diseases Control and Prevention in Athens.

The evidence so far shows that the peak of the flu has passed and it should resolve, but there are still many cases of hospitalized patients and the bad weather does not help the seasonal flu to pass gradually.  

Sotris Tsiodras said that experiments made with animals two years ago have shown that cold weather creates favourable conditions. The reasons are that influenza spreads mainly when the weather is cold and dry, the virus is more stable in cold weather, people gather in one place and the flu spreads more easily, and the virus is more difficult to be removed when humidity in the body is high.

According to Jane Kremastinou from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the last telephone poll results show that the number of vaccinated people has increased to 10.1% after informing the population about the rising number of deaths and infected and the need patients with chronic disease to get vaccinated. 20.7% of those vaccinated are people with chronic diseases and groups to which the disease could have more tragic consequences. "People need to get used to vaccinating and to take care of the respiratory system health," said Anastasia Pandazopoulou and added that the population is not to be expected to get vaccinated when the doctors themselves do not do it and do not "advertise" vaccines. She gave as an example a public hospital with a medical staff of 800 people of whom only 30-40 were vaccinated, and only one doctor working in a small clinic employing only 30-40 people got vaccinated.

The peak of deaths caused by the flu has passed so far as most of the cases were registered in the third week of February, while the most cases of hospitalized people were registered in the second week of February. He pointed out that 75 people in 1000 who went to see a doctor during the flu peak suffered from it, while currently 45 in 1000 people are ill.

This flu is very resistant to antiviral drugs, said Sotiris Tsiodras. There is an efficient system for collecting data on cases of illness in Greece as well as in Britain. It is not known how the other European countries collect data on the flu; therefore, it is not possible to make a comparison between Greece and other countries.

The Ministry warns that hygiene should be observed continuously, antiviral medications should be taken in the event of symptoms and that vaccination is recommended until the end of winter.

According to a doctor practicing in a clinic, the most surprising is the fact that the flu can be treated with Tamiflu for two weeks, but another peak could occur after two weeks again and the treatment with Tamiflu could not continue as it could be harmful to the body.

Tags: SocietyClinicsInfluenzaNews
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