Deaths from flu rise to 79 in Greece

Athens, March 6: The outbreak of the flu in Greece has reached alarming levels with fatalities rising to 79 this winter, according to the latest data released Wednesday.

In the last 24 hours five patients who had been diagnosed with the H1N1 flu strain, died from complications, Xinhua quoted health authorities as saying.

According to experts of the Greek Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), most victims were suffering from some underlying diseases, while they had not been vaccinated.

Only a third of Greeks belonging to high-risk groups has been immunised this year, according to estimates. Lack of funds in the health system and incapability of people to pay for the anti-flu shots let them exposed to the flu.

KEELPNO announced that 217 people have been hospitalised with the flu this year, with 49 patients currently under observation at intensive care units.

Last year Greece had recorded a total of 49 flu-related casualties.

Experts express fears for a higher toll exceeding the 100 dead by the end of the cycle of the seasonal flu in Greece which is expected to close in April.

They recommend in particular to people of high-risk groups, such as elderly and underage people, or patients suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses, to get vaccinated and get anti-flu drugs without delay when the first flu symptoms appear.

IANS