He warns that flu season could be more severe this year, especially for seniors European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
In a statement, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention explained that although the number of cases identified is currently still low in most EU countries, the spread of influenza virus is already exceeding the seasonal limit in Croatia, “which is very early”.
The main variable detected among the cases recorded in the past month is influenza A (H3N2), which, according to the ECDC, disproportionately affects the elderly and is associated with reduced vaccine efficacy.
Unable to predict exactly what the next flu season will be like, CDC specialist Bassi Bentinen stresses the need to take precautions to protect the most vulnerable.
He warned that “a sharp increase in influenza infections during the Covid-19 epidemic could have severe consequences for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems and could place an additional burden on health systems already affected by the epidemic.” .
According to the ECDC, there has been a significant decrease in the last year, more than 99%, in the number of cases of influenza virus in the European Union, possibly as a result of the rules and precautions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After our experience with the Covid-19 epidemic, we now have more evidence that non-pharmacological interventions such as social distancing and hygiene measures can effectively limit the spread of the virus,” says the same expert.
The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) calls for many of these precautions to be maintained, highlighting the importance of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 and against influenza which, according to Bassie Bentenen, “also provides good protection against serious diseases.”
“Those who work in homes or in a healthcare setting should ensure that they are vaccinated before the winter months,” he reiterated.
The flu started earlier in Portugal
In Portugal, the Ricardo Jorge Institute assures the newspaper that the flu season begins earlier, with more respiratory infections than is usually recorded at this time of year.
Influenza vaccination began at the end of September for residents, users, professionals in social response organizations, patients, professionals from the Integrated Continuing Care Network, specialists from the National Health Service (SNS), and pregnant women.
However, it has been extended to people over 65 who have also been recalled since October 11 to receive the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as home users and long-term care units.
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