HEALTH: Cyprus records 12 deaths from influenza A virus

Cyprus health authorities on Wednesday revealed 12 people have died from symptoms associated with influenza A since December although it said the virus was abating.

The Cyprus health ministry issued a statement saying influenza activity still remains relatively high with three deaths recorded in the past 48 hours while 56 serious cases were recorded and treated in hospital.

Over the past 48 hours, three new fatalities were recorded in patients already hospitalised in state hospitals, bringing the total number of deaths associated with influenza to 12, said a health ministry statement.

It said the three latest patients to die belonged to vulnerable groups and had severe underlying illnesses.

It said influenza activity since February 1 remains high, although in the past three 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. A downward trend has also been observed in new flu infections at nursing homes, said the statement.

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

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 the disease, 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 in your home

Avoid lingering in crowded places

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

Wash your hands well and often

Do not smoke

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

Source: The Financial Mirror