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According to RIVM experts, it is difficult to predict how long the current flu wave will last in the Netherlands and how high the peak in the number of infections will be. “We don’t actually know what will happen to the flu, now that the Corona pandemic has come to an end,” says researcher and department chair Adam Meijer.
There has been a flu epidemic since March 7. “It could last for weeks, but it might also subside and we won’t see a flu wave before summer. We’ll see,” Major said.
The dominant flu variant this year is H3N2, a subtype of influenza A. The flu vaccine that people over 60 and people in poor health received in the fall, according to preliminary figures, provide nearly 30 percent protection from infection. This is exactly the average of the last ten years.
Epidemiologist Ryan van Jageldonk adds that those who receive the vaccine have a 40 percent lower chance of being hospitalized with the flu. She is the chair of the division of infectious respiratory diseases at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment.
According to the latest figures, 61 out of every 100,000 people in the Netherlands last week went to the doctor with flu-like complaints. This number is slightly above the limit usually used to talk about an epidemic: 58 visits to the doctor per 100,000 population.
However, the numbers do not compare well with previous years, experts say. They think that people with flu-like complaints will often have the corona test and will be less inclined to go to the doctor. The influenza virus was found in 62 percent of test samples from general practitioners and corona testing streets that are screened for influenza. These high percentages indicate that the epidemic is already underway.
On average, people get the flu once every ten years. According to experts, the fact that the influenza virus has not been around for a while due to Corona’s measures does not mean that we are no longer resistant to it. “Actually, we only missed one season,” Meijer says. He expects this to not have a significant impact, for example, on young children who come into contact with influenza viruses only later.
(Source: NieuwsNl / ANP)
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