16 Turks killed by swine flu in past 15 months
One patient died in Darıca Farabi State Hospital in the western province of Kocaeli on March 15. AA photo.A top health official in Turkey has announced a total of 16 people out of 170 known cases have been died from swine flu in 2014 and 2015, as the H1N1 virus makes a comeback throughout the country.
“The flu season will be over in one month, but we will increase the precautions we take,” said Health Ministry Undersecretary Prof. Dr. Eyüp Gümüş during a press conference on March 17.
Gümüş said the ministry’s Science Council convened to discuss the measures, but the situation is not considered a pandemic despite the dramatic rise in the number of swine flu cases. “There were 812 positive cases in 2012-2013, while the number was 17 for 2013-2014,” he said, pointing to a ten-fold increase since then.
In the past year, three people died of swine flu in the northern province of Samsun, while there were also deaths in the western provinces Kocaeli and Çanakkale, the southern provinces Antalya and Mersin and the eastern province of Sivas.
“An evaluation is being made in these provinces,” Gümüş added, recommending people should be careful of proper personal hygiene and nutrition. “Also, some of our citizens who contract the flu just ignore it. They should see a doctor if the flu infection is not healed on time,” he said.
Fever, headache, sore throat, general body ache, nasal flow, coughing, respiratory distress, vomiting and diarrhea are among the symptoms of the disease. Authorities advise people who suffer one of the symptoms combined with a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius to see a doctor immediately.
Güler Akbaş, a 53-year-old woman in Kocaeli, became the latest victim of the H1N1 virus when she died on March 15 after two days in hospital. In Antalya, on the other hand, influenza cases recently created panic at a prison in the Alanya district, raising questions on whether the convicts were suffering from swine flu.
However, most of the recent cases in Turkey have been related to the seasonal flu caused by the H3N2 virus, not the potentially deadly H1N1.