After five weeks of increase, the flu epidemic stabilizes

published on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at 2:50 p.m

After five weeks of an unusually late surge for the season, the flu epidemic appears to be stabilizing in mainland France, but deaths continue to rise, according to Public Health France’s weekly report released on Wednesday.

For the past week, the health authority has found “a stability of most flu indicators in mainland France”.

The situation varies from region to region. “Influenza indicators were stable in 7 of the 13 regions, falling in Brittany and still rising in the regions of Centre-Val-de-Loire, Île-de-France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and Pays de la Loire” , notes Public Health France.

In community medicine, the rate of influenza-like illness consultations has decreased and the proportion of influenza-like illnesses in SOS Médecins consultations has been stable.

The proportion of hospital admissions due to influenza or flu-like illnesses in all hospital admissions has increased very slightly.

In terms of deaths, the proportion of influenza-related deaths from e-certificates “continued to increase (…) and exceeded the level reached during the peak of the influenza epidemic in 2019-2020”, noted Public Health France.

These deaths mainly affected people aged 65 and over (84%). However, thirteen deaths were recorded among those under the age of 15 and nearly forty among those aged 15 to 64.

Overseas, a resumption of influenza occurred in Mayotte, which had entered the pre-epidemic phase, while the epidemic appeared to be stabilizing in Guyana.

Normally, this epidemic caused by respiratory influenza viruses peaks around February.

The late resumption of influenza this year could be related to poorer herd immunity to this epidemic. In the winter of 2020-2021, the French were less infected than usual because the anti-Covid containment measures blocked the spread of many other viruses.

In addition, the intensification of the last few weeks has most likely benefited from the relaxation of anti-Covid measures, in particular the lifting of the mask requirement.

In this context, also marked by an ongoing Covid epidemic, Public Health France reiterates the importance of barrier gestures and vaccinations.

It is estimated that just over half (about 51.4%) of those at risk, those over 65 and those at risk, have been vaccinated against the flu.

In addition, the flu shot started just over five months ago, raising questions about the level of protection.

In addition, according to preliminary data, the 2021-2022 flu vaccine appears to be of low efficacy against the A (H3N2) virus, which is now largely dominant.

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