Health ministry declares flu epidemic, as death toll climbs to 57

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Health minister Sorina Pintea, has announced on Wednesday morning that the flu epidemic is in state, as three epidemic weeks have been registered in a row and the death toll climbed to 57.

We cannot say that we are facing a more severe flu season compared to the previous one, but a higher number of deaths have been registered, earlier. The difference is that we have a growing number of cases and a higher number of clinically confirmed cases,” the minister said.

At the same time, the director of the National Center for Transmissible Disease Surveillance and Control explained there is no case to institute quarantine in Romania, explaining this is a measure taken only in extreme situations.

30,000 doses of anti-flu vaccine will be distributed as of Thursday to the health bodies in the country. Over 1 million people in the risk groups have been vaccinated so far.

Among the measures imposed by the epidemic, there is one that is restricting the visitors’ access in all hospital units, particularly in the wards at risk. Other measures refer to the urgent recovery of the antiviral medication’s stock and of the disinfectants’ stocks, to imposing urgent antiviral therapy after hospitalization to all patients who have flu symptoms and to immediately vaccinating the medical staff that has not been vaccinated yet.

The last victims of flu is a 43-year-old man from Darmanesti, Arges county, who has been confirmed with AH1 flu virus, but he was also suffering of hepatitis B and was not vaccinated against influenza, a 59-year-old man from Mures county and another person, about whom there is no information at the moment.

Three men, aged 57,62 and 78 and three women aged 34,62 and 63 from Sălaj, Sibiu, Prahova counties and Bucharest have died of influenza, the death toll reaching 54 the National Center for Transmissible Disease Surveillance and Control reported on Tuesday evening. They were all suffering of other diseases.

According to INSP, a 39-year-old woman in Cluj County had been confirmed with A flu virus earlier on Tuesday, with pre-existing medical conditions. She had not been vaccinated.

Three men, aged 40, 49 and 93 from Giurgiu, Braila and Bucharest, as well as a 87-year-old woman from Iasi and 11-month-old baby from Timisoara were the last victims of influenza confirmed on Monday. The victims were all suffering of other diseases and had not been vaccinated against influenza.

The 11-month-baby had several malformations and affections. “He was brought to Timisoara Infectious Diseases Hospital with pneumonia and respiratory distress on Friday night and he died on Saturday”, said the hospital’s spokesperson, doctor Virgil Musta. The baby had been admitted to the Dystrophy ward of the Hospital for children where he had gone undergone surgery.

However on Tuesday, minister Pintea said she cannot tell now if there is a flu epidemic in Romania, because the hospitals have not reported the number of cases correctly. She argued that only 17 out of 49 hospitals have reported the flu cases, while a county that had four deaths caused by flu has reported no case.

Sorina Pintea further said out of those 54 Romanians who died of flu, 49 also had other diseases, while the other five patients were not registered with other affections.

We do not expect a decrease in the intensity of the virus’ circulation in February,” the minister concluded.

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