A 64-year-old woman died last week just two days after receiving an inoculation against the new A(H1N1) influenza virus dubbed swine flu. The state medical service ÁNTSZ ordered an autopsy to establish whether there was any link between the vaccine and the death of the patient, who suffered from chronic, but mild, heart disease.
Last week also saw Hungary’s fourth fatality attributed to A(H1N1) infection. A 47-year-old man who died in hospital was found to have been infected with the virus, health minister Tamás Székely told reporters last Thursday. The patient was being treated for pneumonia.
Hungary’s chief medical officer Ferenc Falus addressed a parliamentary Health Committee last Wednesday and urged Hungarians to get themselves vaccinated as quickly as possible. Falus had himself inoculated in front of reporters in a bid to quell public fears over the safety of the vaccine. The previous week, the manufacturer of Hungary’s A(H1N1) vaccine, Omninvest, had threatened to sue media for “scaremongering” by suggesting the vaccine could be ineffective or dangerous.
Winter epidemic possible
Meanwhile, the ÁNTSZ warned that infection could reach epidemic proportions by early next year following the onset of winter weather. Fewer than 300 cases of A(H1N1) infection have been confirmed in Hungary since the virus was first detected in humans. However, the week before last, some 16,000 cases of influenza were registered nationwide, and it is likely that a good deal, if not most, of these are down to the new variant virus.
Hungary’s new flu vaccine not suitable for children, pregnant women, says health advisor
The vaccine against the new flu virus is not suitable for small children and pregnant women, a member of Hungary’s Collegium for Infectology, an advisor to the Health Ministry, said in a television programme on TV2 on Sunday evening.
Pregnant women should instead be treated with antiviral products, of which there is not enough in the country, Andras Szalka said.
The Health Ministry responded that it had not to date received a statement from the Collegium to this effect, however, it added that Chief Medical Officer Ferenc Falus has called a meeting of the pandemic committee for Monday, where this matter would be discussed.
The fourth patient died in Hungary on Thursday associated with the new flu A/H1N1 virus. The virus had been revealed in 283 cases since it appeared in Hungary in May