The Republic of Cyprus announced on Monday its first case of Group A streptococcus, prompting officials to summon a physician from Israel to assess the medical condition of a little girl who is intubated in Nicosia.
According to the Health Ministry, a 4-year-old girl is currently intubated and getting treatment at Makarios Children's Hospital in Nicosia.
Officials said the little girl has been diagnosed with invasive Streptococcus A infection.
Koliou said the use of mask would be advisable to minimize the risk of transmission and infection as it is possible for people to carry Strep A and not become ill
Authorities previously said they were prepared to respond to strep cases following reports that tens of infected children had lost their lives in the United Kingdom and Europe. In the UK, at least 15 children have died from invasive group A strep since mid-September.
An infectious disease specialist from Israel has reportedly traveled to the island after Cypriot Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Christina Yiannaki summoned the expert to assess the girl's condition.
Cypriot health expert Maria Koliou, who said it was not medically necessary to bring in the Israeli doctor, speculated on state radio Tuesday morning that officials may have wanted to consult with the foreign expert.
“But nothing has changed in the treatment that the little girl is currently receiving,” Koliou said.
The Cypriot expert also said the little girl had been vaccinated against the flu and called on parents to make sure young children get immunized.
Last week Health Minister Michael Hadjipantela called an emergency meeting on the issue, with media reporting that he suggested many infections in Cyprus were due to special relations with Britain as students and other Cypriots living in the United Kingdom travel to the island for Christmas.
Group A streptococci are bacteria commonly found in the throat and on the skin. It is possible for people to carry Strep A in the throat or on the skin and not become ill, with Koliou saying the use of mask would be advisable to minimize the risk of transmission and infection.