Early cases of influenza indicate the possibility of a severe season ahead for the elderly

“Early detections of subtype A (H3N2) are an indication that the upcoming flu season could be severe, although we can’t know for sure what it will look like,” said Bassi Bentinen, head of the influenza program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. next flu season. “A sharp rise in influenza infections during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could have severe consequences for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems and could place an additional burden on health systems already stressed by COVID-19. It is therefore important that we take precautions and protect those most vulnerable. at risk,” said Bassi Bentinen.

During the 2020-2021 season, there was a marked decrease (>99%) in the number of influenza infections detected in the EU/EEA, with the numbers detected being similar to those reported during the inter-seasonal periods. This indicates that non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as avoiding unnecessary crowding and maintaining hygiene measures, are effective not only in reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 but also in influenza.

“From our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have more evidence that non-pharmaceutical interventions such as physical distancing and hygiene measures can effectively limit the spread of influenza. This is particularly important to consider in environments such as nursing homes and health care settings,” said Bassi Benttinen. . “Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 and influenza also provides good protection against severe illness. Those who work in a healthcare or nursing home setting should ensure they are vaccinated against both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza before the winter months.”

Approximately 20% of the population gets the flu every year, and one in four people who are infected develop symptoms. Older adults, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, problems with the lungs and airways, diabetes or immune system problems are most at risk of developing serious complications from the flu.

Antiviral medications, taken as soon as possible after symptoms appear, are safe and effective measures to treat influenza and are generally recommended for severe or rapidly progressing cases. Its protective properties are also useful as a preventative measure during events such as a nursing home outbreak.



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