With doctors highlighting the abnormal degree of infection, the intensity with which the virus attacks, and a minimum recovery period of two weeks, the flu epidemic which is widespread across the whole of the Vega Baja region, has already claimed the deaths of at least five people in the province of Alicante, three in Elda and two in the city of Alicante.

In Elda, two women and an 80-year old man have passed away from symptoms associated with the disease. The deaths occurred last weekend. In the city of Alicante, both of the deaths were also of people of advanced age and with previous ailments that were complicated by the flu virus.

A number of different pneumologists have highlighted that this year the flu is being perticularly contagious, especially amongst the older population with some of saying that they had not seen a similar epidemic for three years.

“The patients arrive at the hospital with complications, such as bronchial spasms or other serious respiratory problems,” said one hospital doctor yesterday, “so they are already in a very weak condition.”

The recovery period from this particular virus is also longer than usual, with patients take up to two weeks to recover when the usual period is between seven and ten days on average. Doctors also highlight the high capacity of propagation of the virus this year, “especially as we are dealing with a high number of infections among family members,” explains one specialist.

And in Pilar de la Horadada the health centre has displayed a notice at the entrance of the facility warning users of the “danger” of entering due to the virulence of the flu epidemic.

The notice states “We are in the middle of a flu epidemic. Upon entering this centre you will be exposed to cases of the disease. Please, if your case is not urgent and you can wait for your doctor until the epidemic has passed we would appreciate you making another appointment with him.”

The health centre said that it has been overwhelmed by this situation, from which it has also lost some members of staff.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health has had to reinforce staff at three hospitals, Elche, San Juan and Alicante, in order to address the epidemic so that it does not return to the situation it experienced in recent years, with wards being absolutely full, making it necessary to accommodate and treat patients in the corridors.