A case of suspected cholera infection is being currently treated in a private hospital in Athens. According to Greek media, a 79-year-old Dutch tourist was transferred from the island of Kos to Athens for tests and treatment on Sunday and he is is the Intensive Care Unit under strict hygienic precautions, also to prevent contamination of medical personnel and other patients.
The man had bad diarrhea and high fever. He was first checked for salmonella infection but the tests run negative. Given his symptoms, he was also checked for cholera but the diagnosis has not been confirmed yet. The tests results are expected on Friday afternoon. Health authorities are also investigated previous travel destinations of the Dutch tourist.
Greek health authorities urged the public to take health precautions like hands washing and keep strict hygiene rules before consuming food and water..
A team from the Greek Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) is heading to the island of Kos, a popular tourist destination, that turned into one of the major entry points for migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Eurasia this summer.
Kos has seen an influx of thousands of migrants and refugees from countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who cross the Aegean Sea from nearby Turkey. “In September, Iraq’s first major cholera outbreak since 2012 rose to at least 121 cases,” Reuters noted.
On the island, the KEELPNO-team is to conduct further epidemiological investigation and detection of potential similar cases in cooperation with local authorities.
“We are proceeding with more examinations to avoid the danger of a contagious disease,” KEELPNO said in a statement issued on Friday.
Cholera is extremely rare in Greece, with the last confirmed case reported in 1993 and before that in 1986, according to World Health Organization Data.
“There are fears that a case may have been transmitted through the migratory wave,” the center official told Reuters.
However, the president of KEELPNO seems to see no connection to the refugees influx. In an interview to Parapolitika FM, KEELPNO president Thanassis Giannopoulos stresse
“This incident had no relation to the refugee, immigrant wave. A tourist who left his native country Holland and was a visiting Kos. He had no contact with refugees.”
However, every school book and every internet page knows that Cholera is a bacterial disease spread mostly by water and food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria. Insufficiently cooked seafood is said to be a common source. Humans are the only animal affected.
If left untreated, cholera can be fatal within a few hours, causing death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.
According to media, the Dutch tourist arrived in Kos together with his wife on September 20th 2015. He got sick on the sixth day of his staying on the island is wife, and the first symptoms indicated to gastroenteritis. In short time, however, his situation deteriorated with heavy complications that made the doctors explore the possibilities of salmonella and then cholera.
Worth noting is that the KEELPNO did not mention “cholera” in its Friday statement but spoke of “serious extensive gastroenteritis” and that the patient is been examined for the possibility of “contagious gastroenteritis.”
But why the KEELPNO made the case public without previous confirmation? Giannopoulos underlined that it was “the duty of physicians to take all appropriate measures to protect the public health.”
Short after 4:30 pm, the first results from the cholera test were turned out to be NEGATIVE. The Dutch tourist remains in critical condition in the ICU of the private hospital. Further tests will be conducted, a couple of days will be still needed to identify the cause of his disease.
PS if no “contagious gastroenteritis” wasn’t then premature to speak of “cholera” in the media and thus in the context of the country’s top industry which is the tourism and the influx of refugees?
Crisis management = FAIL
BTW: Today, I washed my hands 58 times for nothing, I’m afraid… it was pure stupid panic?