By Concha Tejerina
Valencia (EFE).- The cases of flu in the Valencian Community they have increased since August and there are now around 66 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and although these are still low figures, after two years without incidence of this disease due to the pandemic and with an increase off-season cases” we can prepare for a bad year.
This is what epidemiologist Salvador Peiró warns in statements to EFE, indicating that according to the latest report from the Surveillance System for Aquatic Respiratory Infections (SIVIRA) corresponding to week 38 (from September 19 to 25) “the influenza is growing, especially type A, the incidence of covid-19 is increasing somewhat and the circulation of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is also increasing”.
Flu spreads among schoolchildren
The researcher of the Health and Biomedical Research Foundation of the Valencian Community (Fisabio) explains that the highest rates of respiratory diseases occur in children under 5 years old and from this age to 14 years old, something “expected” after back to school, although the numbers are within expectations.
In the case of influenza, cases have been increasing since week 31 of this year (early August) and now we would be around 66 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants, points out Peiró, who indicates that these are “still low” figures, although than those of the last seasons in which, thanks to the covid measures, “there were practically no cases” and, moreover, practically no flu tests were carried out.
En el caso de los contagios por covid, a juicio de Peiró el no usar mascarillas “seguro que ha implicado más contagios” pero aclara que ya llevamos un tiempo sin su uso -excepto en el transporte público- y las cifras “han ido cayendo tras summer”.
Now, he argues, we are facing an autumn in which the majority of the population, especially the younger ones, have been infected with the BA.5 variant of omicron during this summer.
covid and flu
However, he says he doesn’t expect a significant covid rebound in early fall unless there are new variants or immunity wanes very rapidly, which is why the fourth dose is given to the elderly.
As for the flu this winter, Peiró clarifies that at the moment “we can only speculate” but after two years of almost no flu, with the increase in off-season cases this spring and the southern winter flu season (which was not spectacular, but it was noticed), “we could have a bad year”.
“The flu is not insignificant, a good year leaves us with 5,000 deaths and a bad one, around 20,000”, he warns, adding that even if at this moment “we don’t know how it will happen, we can prepare for a bad scenario”. .”
For this reason, he emphasizes the need to vaccinate candidate flu vaccines and that, for now, people with respiratory symptoms keep the mask on and reduce contact.
For her part, the president of the Valencian Society of Family and Community Medicine (SoVaMFiC) of the Valencian Community, María Ángeles Medina, assures that “there is already a lot of flu and it has puzzled us because it is not the moment, but it’s not very strong today.”
Cases triggered but no collapse
This year “yes, the flu cases will skyrocket, they will increase a lot but not to the point of collapsing”, according to Medina, who points out that not wearing a mask has influenced this increase in cases.
He considers it “a bit catastrophic” to say that in October there will be a health collapse due to the flu and, although the patients have not yet received the flu vaccine and the circulation of the flu virus has advanced, he adds: “Ne being great, I personally don’t think we’re getting to that point of collapse.
“We’ve had it with covid but I don’t think there will be with flu because it’s not a new disease and as long as we’ve been vaccinated we will have antibodies, especially chronic patients,” he says.
Medina says they’ve had patients in the past who have had covid and the flu at the same time “and it’s no worse to have it at the same time, the symptoms are the same” and he’s “less concerned “than covid in people who are not vaccinated.
After recalling that this October 17 will begin the vaccination campaign against influenza, he calls on the population to be vaccinated because, despite the fact that the Community has good indicators for vaccination against influenza in people at risk, ” It should be remembered that the flu in a vulnerable person can be fatal. ECE