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The flu came to Belarus . Will the epidemy be this winter?

The flu came  to Belarus . The National Center for Influenza confirmed that this week several laboratory-confirmed cases were diagnosed. For now most of the cases are confirmed  in the Gomel region, but they are scattered, so there are no talks about any outbreaks of the disease.

The rise of incidence of SARS and influenza is expected in late January - early February

"Single, unrelated cases are revealed – reports the head of the National Influenza Centre, a leading researcher Natalia Gribkova. - This is normal for this time of year. There is no excess of epidemy treshhold , so do not panic. For now the situation in our country, Russia and Europe is calm. "

So it is early to make predictions whether the epidemy will occur.  early. Now the incidence of SARS is at the level of the last year, said the head of the immunization department of the "National Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health," Natalya Shmeleva.

What does the vaccine save from?

41% of Belarusians are vaccinated against the flu. But according to the data of the epidemiological surveillance system "Evroflu," there are differences between the circulating strains of influenza and strains, from which we were vaccinated. Does this mean that the vaccine would be useless?

Only a smaller part of a walking influenza A (H3N2) coincides with that vaccine. And more than half (52%) is different. This is reported by United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Evroflu" talks about a similar situation in Europe. Thus, the effectiveness of modern vaccines against influenza is reduced.

But vaccinated have less chance of cross-contamination (by several strains at the same time), which reduces the possibility of severe consequences of hospitalization and death.

Natalia Shmeleva pays attention to the fsct that the vaccine protects against this season's strains of viruses, which, according to WHO experts, can cause an epidemic and severe cases - from epidemic strains of influenza. They are, according to "Evroflu" already allocated in 48% of cases. But vaccinated Belarusians have protection from them.

Does the flu exist in numbers?

Complete statistics on flu belongs to the category of official information, say Belarusian specialists. These data can be provided the Ministry of Health. It is worth noting that last year we were trying to get the information. But we have not been provided with specific figures.

"There is no flu" -a phrase you can often hear from the doctors themselves.

Natalia Shmeleva considers that such a statement can be heard due to the fact that the leaders of health care organizations misinterpret the regulations. Indeed, just to put a diagnosis of "flu" in our polyclinics is impossible. Confirmed cases of influenza are recorded. The network of laboratories within the national surveillance system for influenza, explores the material from patients suspected of flu, and either confirms the diagnosis of the flu or not.

In the sanitary rules and regulations for prevention of influenza spread, paragraph 15 states: "The doctor of Health Organization, that identified the patients with ARI, ILI, SARI organizes the  biological material sampling for its subsequent delivery to the virology laboratory of territorial jurisdiction."

But, perhaps, it is easier to diagnose SARS than to examine the patient and to carry somewhere the serum.

"But if accorging to the serum genetic material of influenza virus is detected, the result is sent to the polyclinic, and the record “the diagnosis of flu " is written in the card, - says Natalya Shmeleva.

By the way, officially reported cases of influenza this year we will be even more less. Because since 2014  only laboratory-confirmed cases are recorded.

 

 

Source Medical Bulletin