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Outbreak of flu cases on Cyclades

The increase in tourism, and especially visitors from countries of the Southern Hemisphere where the seasonal flu is now being observed, has led to something of a flu outbreak in the Cyclades islands in recent weeks, impacting popular tourist destinations such as Paros and Ios.

“In my previous shift, of the 100 cases that came to the emergency room, about 45 had influenza. They had a respiratory infection that was not Covid-19,” a doctor at the Paros Health Center told Kathimerini.

Addressing the issue, the vice president of the National Public Health Organization (EODY), Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos, told Kathimerini there has been “a slight upsurge in influenza [compared to] pre-pandemic summers.” He added: “It is not a cause for concern. We are monitoring it.”

University of Athens Vice Rector Athanasios Tsakris, who is the director of the university’s Microbiology Laboratory, drew parallels with summer of 2009, when the pandemic of the H1N1 flu strain appeared.

This, he said, is related to the sharp increase in travel, coupled with the fact that people have not been in contact with influenza for more than two years, and for this reason immunity against the virus has largely weakened.

Experts in Greece and abroad have been expecting and warning of such a development since last fall, with ample evidence from the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu epidemic has far exceeded the data of 2019.