Home South African Flu cases in SA rising rapidly, vaccination encouraged

Flu cases in SA rising rapidly, vaccination encouraged

399

Flu may cause severe illness leading to hospitalisation or possibly death, especially among those at risk of severe flu illness or complications, the department cautioned.

A number of flu strains currently circulating are causing severe health complications in some patients.

A NUMBER of flu strains currently circulating are causing severe health complications in some patients.

This was being confused with a Covid-19 variant which had been in circulation with “low levels of transmissibility and severity”, the National Health Department said.

“About 8 to 10% of patients hospitalised for pneumonia and 25% of patients with flu-like illness (fever and cough) will test positive for influenza during the SA flu season,” department spokesperson Foster Mohale said.

“According to National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) surveillance data, the number of influenza cases and positivity rates are increasing rapidly. But the transmission and impact remain at a moderate level. This means there is a lot of influenza circulating, but it is still within the expected range for a normal influenza season.”

Flu may cause severe illness leading to hospitalisation or possibly death, especially among those at risk of severe flu illness or complications, the department cautioned.

From January 1 to May 19, the NICD detected 394 cases of influenza, 587 cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), 127 cases of Sars-CoV-2 and 22 cases of Bordetella pertussis (respiratory tract infection).

“The most commonly detected and circulating influenza subtype and lineage are A(H1N1) previously known as ‘swine flu’ because it was causing disease in pigs, followed by influenza B/Victoria and influenza A(H3N2). This is not unusual as influenza A(H1N1) has been circulating each season as one of the annual seasonal influenza strains since 2010. Influenza A virus is more severe in adults,” Mohale said.

High-risk groups included pregnant women, including six weeks after delivery, individuals living with HIV, those with diabetes, lung disease, tuberculosis, heart disease, renal disease, and obesity, the elderly and children under 2 years old.

“These groups of people are strongly encouraged to receive the influenza vaccine available freely at public health clinics or at a cost from privately healthcare providers and through pharmacies.”

Meanwhile, members of the public who experience suspected symptoms of mpox disease, formerly known as monkeypox, were also encouraged to visit their healthcare provider for screening and testing to ensure early diagnosis and effective treatment to prevent further spread of the disease.

This comes after the country recorded the second laboratory-confirmed case of mpox, caused by the monkeypox virus with the potential to cause a painful or itchy rash like pimples or blisters.

The first case was confirmed in Gauteng earlier this month. The new patient, a man, 39, was admitted at Addington Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Cape Times

Previous articlePolitical parties declare over R170 million in donations
Next articleAfriForum planning to approach ConCourt after SCA dismisses its appeal in Malema’s ‘Kill the Boer’ case