Hundreds of new cases of acute respiratory infections and influenza have been registered every day for the past few weeks. This scenario was predictable, according to virologist Shameem Jaumdally.
6,196 new cases of acute respiratory infections and influenza were registered in the five regional hospitals from June 6 to 12 compared to 6,277 in the previous week (May 30 to June 5). However, when the situation appears to have “stabilized,” the most vulnerable need to protect themselves from potential complications in the event of bacterial superinfection, estimates Dr. Fazil Khodabocus, Public Health Physician. “The flu is as dangerous as Covid-19. In some cases, this can be fatal,” says the doctor.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 299,000 and 650,000 people die from the flu worldwide every year. “The flu must not be trivialized. Infants, pregnant women, the elderly and people with comorbidities should be vaccinated. The vaccine is available in regional hospitals and various public health centers.
Although the cold and dry climate promotes the spread of influenza viruses (AH1N1, AH3N2 and B), adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and the Covid-19 virus, the drop in temperature in recent weeks is not solely responsible for the increase in influenza cases recorded this year. In the past two years (2020 and 2021), Mauritius had not recorded that many cases of acute respiratory infections and influenza. This coincides with the time when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak. The hygiene measures put in place (wearing a hygiene mask, physical distancing and hand hygiene) have helped slow the spread of the flu virus and other viral infections, explain Drs. Khodabocus and Dr. Shameem Jaumdally, a Mauritian virologist practicing in South Africa.
dr However, Shameem Jaumdally adds that cases of flu will be more severe. And to explain: “When we are exposed to a microbe, our immune system is strengthened by taking a ‘photo’ of the virus and remembering it. However, the body was not too exposed to the flu virus in these two years, which meant that those infected were affected a little more,” says the virologist.
Sinusitis, otitis and pneumonia
The flu can cause some moderate or severe complications. These include sinusitis, otitis and pneumonia, which in severe cases can lead to patient death, says Dr. Fazil Khodabocus (photo). Antibiotics are only effective against a bacterial and not a viral infection, he says, before specifying that only a test can distinguish the flu from Covid-19.
Covid-19: Probable increase in cases
According to the latest figures from June 10, 68 new cases of Covid-19 were detected in the week, compared to 114 in the week of June 3. Don’t rely too much on numbers, says Dr. Shameem Jaumdally. “The two indicators to consider are: the number of patients hospitalized for respiratory problems and the number of deaths. It is likely that these numbers will increase in the coming weeks. The new wave is triggered by the BA sub-variants. 4 and BA. 5. Those who are already infected should not think they are immune.”