ATHENS – While Greece’s winter has been uncommonly mild so far – temperatures often in the 60’s – the season has taken a deadly toll in the number of flu victims, with 39 dead already and another 59 in intensive care units, officials at the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) said on Feb. 17.
Last year, 49 people died and 113 were hospitalized over the duration of the entire flu period. This year, 143 people have received hospital treatment after contracting flu since the season started in January.
The trend, health care official said, is worse compared to 2013 – a statistically average year – when a total of 108 flu patients were admitted to intensive-care units during the entire season.
They said the country is currently only nearly halfway through flu season and are warning about the local population’s low vaccination rate. So far all victims belonged to so-called high-risk groups, yet none appears to have been immunized against the flu.
KEELPNO scientiests said they expect the infection rate is expected to remain the same through February with Athens University professor and KEELPNO expert Sotiris Tsiordas earlier telling Kathimerini that the high flu activity will continue for at least four more weeks.