Cyprus Mail

Three people hospitalised with typhus

By Constantinos Psillides

Three people working as crew on an archaeological dig near the village of Deneia in the Nicosia district have been hospitalised with typhus.

According to Antiquities Department head Giorgos Filotheou, the three crew members, two men and one woman, developed high fevers last Friday but didn’t visit a hospital thinking that it was just a flu. After 48 hours and with no sign of improvement, all three decided to go to the Nicosia General Hospital.

Filotheou said all three were tested, found positive for typhus and given antibiotics. “We have had experience with things like this. We had immediately notified the doctors that they might have contracted typhus,” he said.

The three are expected to be released on Wednesday. One way of contracting the disease could have been the bite of a flea from a rat.

The crew members were digging at an open grave near the village but according to Filotheou there was nothing indicating the area was contaminated with rats.

The digging began on June 2 following a request by the Deneia local authority. The site is located within the buffer zone and it was inaccessible for 40 years.

Located near the site is a fountain, whose water the locals believed  could cure skin diseases. Filotheou told the Cyprus Mail that the locals used to plaster themselves with the mud, believing the water had healing properties.

Last Easter the local authority was granted permission by the United Nations to visit the place and conduct a service.

Filotheou said it was not the first time someone had contracted typhus while working around Deneia. “We had a similar case two years ago, when a member of a foreign crew presented symptoms of the disease,” he said.


Deneia’s village leader Christakis Panayiotou blamed the health services, saying they had, since February this year, repeatedly asked them to deal with a rat infestation in the area.



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