The National Reference Laboratory has confirmed that a 31-year-old woman who died in hospital in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, on Thursday was suffering from swine flu. The woman also had a serious heart condition. Hers is the first swine flu death in the Czech Republic. Another man, 30 years of age, remains in serious condition. It is not clear where either patient contracted the disease; neither had travelled abroad recently.
Five months after the first case of swine flu was detected in the Czech Republic the illness has claimed its first victim – a woman, aged 31, succumbed to it in hospital in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia on Thursday. The patient’s condition was already serious when she was admitted to hospital and the H1N1 virus is said to have caused fatal complications. Another patient with swine flu, a man aged around 30, is now reported to be in a critical condition in the same ward.
The Czech Republic has seen what appears to be its first death caused by
swine flu. A woman with a heart problem died on Thursday after evidently
contracting the disease; her condition was already serious and the
swine flu caused fatal complications, said a spokesperson for the hospital
in Karlovy Vary where the death occurred. A Ministry of Health
said further tests were needed before the diagnosis could be confirmed.
Another patient, a man aged around 30, is reported to be in a serious condition with apparent swine flu at the same hospital. He too was already suffering from serious health problems before evidently contracting the H1N1 virus. To date around 300 cases of the disease have been recorded in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Health Ministry has issued a statement urging Czechs to get their seasonal flu jab this year despite a scare over whether it might not do more harm than good. The ministry said that its recommendations remained unchanged in the face of a Canadian study which suggests that a seasonal flu jab could actually increase the risk of contracting swine flu. Leading experts in the field have questioned the reliability of the study which was based on the fact that a high number of people who contracted swine flu had been vaccinated against seasonal flu.
Concerns regarding a possible swine flu epidemic in the Czech Republic have taken a new turn. Fears that there would not be enough vaccines for people at risk have been replaced by concerns about the possible side effects of the new flu jab. In addition to that, a Canadian study released last week suggests that across the board vaccination against the seasonal flu could only make matters worse.
The State Health Institute has recorded eight cases of the H1N1 swine flu virus since September 4, bringing the number of infections in the country to 277. Most of the cases have occurred in Prague, the eastern region around Ostrava and in the central highlands region. None of those infected have been in serious condition, with most waiting out the illness in home isolation without antiviral treatment.
Medical experts have said they believe the amount of swine flue vaccine purchased by the state is insufficient. Last week the Czech government ordered one million doses of the vaccine, or one-fifth of the number originally planned, at a cost of 220 million crowns. The amount covers 5% of the population, ensuring vaccination for those responsible for critical state infrastructure, including health care workers and those providing energy, water and food supplies.
Czech health and interior ministries are fighting over whether all national and top local politicians are vaccinated against swine flu, according to the Czech press. The Ministry of Interior has advanced plans that all members of the government and parliament as well as top regional and local politicians are vaccinated, according to Wednesday’s edition of Mladá fronta dnes. The Ministry of Health says it is only considering vaccinations for a handful of ministers playing a central role in a possible health crisis. The government agreed last week to buy enough vaccine for half a million people with the main target of protecting health service staff.
The Czech government has announced it will purchase a million doses of swine flue vaccine, enough to immunise half a million people. Speaking after an extraordinary cabinet session on Friday, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said the vaccines would be supplied by the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which won the contract over rival bidder, Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis. Doctors, nurses and other public health workers will be the first to be immunised, Mr Fischer said. The first delivery is expected in Prague at the end of September. In the 10-million Czech Republic, 217 cases of swine flu infection have been confirmed so far. No one has died of the illness.