HEALTH: Cyprus influenza A outbreak claims 13 lives

Cyprus health authorities on Monday said the death toll from symptoms associated with influenza A since December has risen to 13 making it the worst outbreak for a decade, although the virus is said to be abating.

The Cyprus Health Ministry issued a statement saying influenza activity still remains relatively high with one deaths recorded in the past 24 hours while 58 serious cases were recorded and treated in hospital.

There are eight serious cases currently being treated at intensive care units in general hospitals, there has been no serious flu case admitted in the last 48 hours, said a health ministry statement.

It said the latest patient to die (a 67-year-old woman) belonged to a vulnerable group and was in intensive care for the last three weeks with severe underlying illnesses.

The ministry said influenza activity since February 1 remains high, although in the past four weeks there has been a decline in activity.

Overall the virus is in decline these past three weeks compared to previously. This decrease is particularly noticeable in the child population, said the statement.

Health authorities said there was no reason to panic, as there were fewer people being treated in hospital.

The vast majority of serious cases are patients with multiple underlying chronic health problems and a complex medical history.

Authorities said taking the influenza vaccine remains the best way to prevent catching the virus, especially for vulnerable groups.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus and quite different from the common cold, which is less severe.

It’s not normally dangerous if you’re healthy, but sometimes different strains of influenza can cause serious illness in some people.

The Health Ministry published preventative measures for the public to follow

Ensure good ventilation of your home

Avoid lingering in crowded places

When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue in front of the mouth and then wash your hands

Wash your hands well and often

Do not smoke

If your child is ill, do not send it to nursery or school for at least 48 hours after the fever and symptoms have subsided

Source: The Financial Mirror