What causes it, who gets infected, what it means for winter

What causes it, who gets infected, what it means for winter
What causes it, who gets infected, what it means for winter

Several dozen confirmed cases flu have been reported in the last five weeks to the National Public Health Organization (EODY), while some serious hospitalizations due to the disease were also recorded. All cases of influenza involve young people, mainly teenagers or young adults, who were infected with the A(H3N2) strain and became ill during or after their vacation.

The islands of the Cycladesespecially popular tourist destinations, suddenly became hotbeds for the spread of influenza, in addition to the dominant coronavirus with infectious mutations Omicron 4 and 5. This is undoubtedly an unprecedented situation given that our country is not going through an epidemic flu season. However, it seems that the period until the official start of this year’s flu season, i.e. in October, will traversed in a different way.

The outbreak of the seasonal flu during the summer months certainly surprises most of us as we now know that flu viruses enter… circulation in the winter months, so the surveillance of the disease by the EODY begins, but also the preparation of your own defense through the flu vaccination.

Some again he can refer to his summer 2009 when the strain of influenza A(H1N1), the so-called pandemic, had made its appearance for the first time, which since then invades our lives during the seasonal flu season, occupying a significant share of the annual cases and hospitalizations.

The Greek scientists they expected that there would be some circulation of the flu in this year’s summer months, due to the high tourist flows to our country. After all, this was the assessment of experts in other countries as well, as they followed the intense flu and corona epidemic that unfolded early, about two months earlier than usual, in the Southern Hemisphere. Epidemiological data from the specific region each year provide a first picture of what is to happen in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition, experts have pointed out that after the absence of influenza viruses for the past two years, their reappearance may pose a greater threat to the population that already has very low immunity against them.

However, the reality exceeded modest estimates of scientists in our country. Since the end of July, the cases of respiratory infections caused by influenza viruses have continued to increase among the young population in popular Aegean islands. In fact, it is worth noting that the dozens of confirmed cases that will be included in the EODY report this week translate into hundreds of cases, for which there was no investigation and identification of the flu viruses. However, the majority of cases concern young people who were exposed to suffocating conditions and without protective measures.

Despite the fact that influenza shows seasonal variation, with a gradual increase in the spread of the virus from October to March, EODY records influenza cases throughout the year. During last year’s flu season, for example, five incidents requiring hospitalization in ICU and 3 deaths were reported to EODY. In the immediately preceding period, 2020-2021, no serious incident or death was recorded. Before the corona pandemic it was recorded approx 280 hospitalizations due to flu in ICU and about 125 dead.

Usually in the summer months the number of influenza cases recorded is small and, as a rule, it concerns the sporadic cases of the disease. In recent weeks, however, there have been signs of increased dispersion during the current pre-epidemic period compared to previous years, especially among young people in certain geographical areas of the countryEODY said in a statement yesterday. And he added that “given that in the Southern Hemisphere an early onset of the epidemic wave of influenza was recorded for this year’s season, the EODY remains alert and systematically monitors the evolution of the disease’s activity».

Finally, the EODY reminded that to prevent the spread of influenza in the community, personal hygiene measures and protective measures must be scrupulously observed, while vaccination remains the most effective preventive measure for the population. Flu shots are expected in early October.

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The article is in Greek

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