The death of a 34-year-old man who got the seasonal flu is raising questions over his medical treatment while officials warn that flu cases have been more aggressive this year.
(Click here for an update to the story)
Stavros Georgiou, a 34-year-old man who died Wednesday hours after he was rushed to the Emergency Room, was said to have had a clean bill of health before falling ill last month and visiting the hospital several times.
'This strand found enough people without antibodies compared to previous years'
According to his family, who told reporters Georgiou initially visited the Emergency Room at Larnaca General Hospital, the doctor last month gave him some cold medicine and sent him home. The symptoms persisted quite heavily and he had to visit the Larnaca ER a second time, where the doctor proceeded to administer an IV fluid injection.
By last Saturday, Georgiou was very ill and had to be rushed to the hospital, where he was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit at Larnaca General in the evening. He was then urgently transferred to Nicosia General Hospital where he died hours later.
According to media reports, Georgiou’s family and relatives have expressed discomfort with the way doctors treated their patient, with some media raising questions over the series of events leading up to his death. An official complaint was later filed on Thursday with the police.
Experts in the field say the number of flu cases tends to go up during the winter months but did not say whether this could be an epidemic.
Unique to the Cypriot population
Pediatrician Anastasia Symeou told Kathimerini Cyprus that the influenza virus this year may have gone through a mutation. She did not rule out that a new virus unique to the Cypriot population may have appeared, saying this flu virus may not resemble viruses of previous years and people may not have the necessary antibodies.
“This strand found enough people without antibodies compared to previous years,” Symeou said, adding the possibility that not enough people got their flu shots this year.
According to government officials, Georgiou’s death suggests that the flu virus this year is aggressive, which could threaten healthy individuals and not only children, the elderly, and people with medical problems.
Prior to Georgiou’s death, a 20-month-old baby boy died from complications after getting the seasonal flu in Limassol, with the Health Ministry opening an investigation into possible medical negligence following a police complaint by the parents of the dead infant.
A number of other influenza-related deaths were recorded this winter, where five senior citizens passed away after getting the flu. One of them, a 70-year-old woman, was in hospital for weeks prior to her unrelated surgery when she caught the flu and passed away. The number of serious flu cases is currently 40, according to officials.