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42-year-old man dies in Kutaisi, presumably of H1N1

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, January 5
A 42-year-old man has died in Kutaisi of what is presumed to be the H1N1 virus, the National Disease Control Centre reported on Monday. The man lived in Russia and had entered Georgia to visit his family for the New Year.

It is assumed that the man was infected with the virus in Georgia, Deputy Head of the National Disease Control Centre, Shota Tsanava has said. Death was caused by flu complications- pneumonia and high temperature. The man also was infected with Hepatitis C, according to doctors.

Tests will reveal whether the deceased man was infected with the H1N1 flu or not, Tsanava told The Messenger, adding that there are several more suspected but unconfirmed H1N1 deaths. The official number of people who have died as a result of H1N1 in Georgia is 15. Three of these were pregnant women. In two cases doctors managed to save the child. In almost all cases the doctors cited late hospitalisation as the reason why flu complications, and lethal outcomes, developed.

The official number of confirmed H1N1 virus cases in Georgia has hit 1,126, according to the National Disease Control Centre. However the real number of the people who have contracted the virus is much higher, according to specialists. “More than 120,000 citizens of Georgia have suffered from the H1N1 flu,” Head of the Centre Paata Imnadze has said.

The spread of the virus is decreasing, Imnadze noted. This decrease will continue during January, he suggested. “We are expecting a second wave of the virus in February, but a less intense one,” he said.

Officials have called on citizens not to panic. There are enough Tamiflu and Relenza in the country to combat the disease, according to the Health Ministry. “When a doctor visits a patient at home and sees that there is a need to use Tamiflu, he leaves it with the patient. But this does not happen just because the patient asks the doctor to leave him some as a reserve,” head of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office Health and Social Service, Mamuka Katsarava, has said.

“The Health Ministry has bought 140 thousand doses of Tamiflu, which is absolutely enough for Georgia at this stage,” Katsarava stated, adding that an additional amount of the medicine might be purchased in January, if needed. “However we think that there will be no need. In any case the people who need to take Tamiflu to cure H1N1 can call the policlinic doctor or go to the policlinics close to their homes and they will get the medicine for free,” he stated.

Specialists suggest that pregnant women, the elderly, children and people with chronic diseases are in a “high risk group.” “People who belong to these groups should visit doctors as soon as they have any symptoms of flu,” Shota Tsanava said. He called on doctors to start the treatment of patients immediately, before test results are available.