A five-year-old child with pneumonia was placed on respiratory support on Saturday in the intensive care unit of the Makarios hospital, with type A influenza medication being administered for preventative reasons.
According to the head of the paediatric clinic of the Makarios hospital, Avraam Elia, it has yet to be confirmed whether the child has been infected by the type A flu virus, though medical checks are still being carried out, CNA reported.
In an announcement on Friday the health ministry said that 25 serious flu incidents were recorded in the past two months, 10 of which had to be treated in intensive care units, with four people eventually succumbing.
Three of the four patients who died had been suffering with chronic ailments, which were exacerbated by the flu. In the fourth case, the flu worsened the patient’s already serious clinical condition.
The surge in incidents of flu and other winter-time ailments has clogged outpatient clinics, as well as public and private hospitals, with extensive waiting times for treatment at A&Es.
A request by the executive director of the organisation of state health services (Okypy) for the Limassol and Paphos region, Christos Nikolaou, on Friday to speed up hospital discharges so as to free up beds and make way for the new cases that are bound to arise over the weekend, elicited a strong reaction by medical staff.
Elia told CyBC that the Makarios hospital had exceeded full capacity in recent weeks, but this week things were slightly better at 90 per cent capacity.
“This is normal during the winter months. I cannot say this was an epidemic,” he said. According to the ministry, the best way of protection, especially for vulnerable groups, was the flu vaccine.