A total of four elderly persons and a 20-month-old baby have died from the flu for which 39 people were hospitalised in the past three months, according to Head of the Infectious Disease Surveillance Unit of the health ministry Maria Koliou.
She said all of them had type A influenza.
Most people who were hospitalised in public hospitals and private clinics have now recovered and have returned home.
“Of the 39 cases, only three were children under 15. The others were adults and elderly people. The average age was 59 years. Of these, five died.”
Asked how the situation is evolving, she said there are signs it was getting better.
“Since it [the spread of the influenza] started early, it will finish early,” Koliou explained. “The flu peaked around Christmas instead of in the first week of January as is usual.”
Koliou told the Cyprus News Agency the classic symptoms of the illness are chills, headaches, aching joints and fever but above all feeling weak and wanting to sleep. Some people may have a sore throat, a cough or in rare cases suffer from gastroenteritis.
It is not a very serious illness, but is generally considered the most serious of the ones currently going around, she added.
The situation is not something new, but happens every winter, and hospitals are able to cope with all cases.
Based on reports by doctors, there seem to be less incidents this year, and time will show if it is possible to reduce the numbers even further.
Hygiene is an important precaution, especially washing hands and using tissues but also keeping away from others while sneezing, and good ventilation.
According to the health ministry, the best way of protection, especially for vulnerable groups, is the flu vaccine.
Vaccination is recommended for people over 65, children over six months, and adults with chronic ailments.