December 4, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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RIVM: An influenza pandemic appears to be looming

RIVM: An influenza pandemic appears to be looming

Photo: Katharina Glazenburg

More and more people in the Netherlands have the flu. In the past week, the number of people infected with the flu has risen sharply. Influenza virus (influenza virus) is being found in more and more samples taken from people with flu-like symptoms. Based on information from laboratories, hospitals, general practitioners and the municipal health services of the GGD, it appears that an influenza pandemic is looming. This is the conclusion reached by Nevel University Medical Center, Erasmus M. Cerasmus and RIVM.

Since the start of the flu season in October 2021, the influenza virus has occasionally been found in the Netherlands. Perhaps this is due to corona measures. It also reduces the spread of the influenza virus. Now that many measures have been released, people are more connected to others again. This also increases the risk of developing a respiratory infection such as the flu.

The normal limit of an influenza pandemic is uncertain

In the Netherlands, we talk about a flu pandemic if more than 58 out of 100,000 people with flu-like symptoms visit their GP for two consecutive weeks and at least 10 percent of those have the flu virus. In the Netherlands, this is updated by Nivel and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Through a national network, GP practices are reporting how many people are showing flu-like symptoms. They take throat and nose samples from some of these people. It is determined whether they are actually infected with the influenza virus in a laboratory. The symptoms of influenza are very similar to those of the coronavirus. This is why people with flu-like symptoms now go to the street for a GGD test or do a self-test. Fewer people with respiratory infections go to the doctor than in previous years. So the normal limit of an influenza epidemic in this case is very uncertain.

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Information from laboratories, hospitals and GGDs

RIVM also monitors the development of the influenza virus in other ways. different laboratories In the Netherlands I reported last week that the number of people infected with influenza is rising sharply.
Since November 2021 A portion of COVID-19 samples from the test streets of GGD Amsterdam and GGD Utrecht are checked for the presence of influenza viruses. There is also an increase. Finally, several hospitals report that the number of people with influenza is on the rise. Based on this information, it appears that an influenza pandemic is on the horizon. RIVM, Nivel and Erasmus MC are closely monitoring the development of the situation.

Flu and COVID-19

Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory infections. But they are caused by different viruses. Both viruses spread through droplets when coughing or sneezing. Both viruses also cause fever, colds, coughs, and sometimes pneumonia.
Basic measures against the coronavirus also prevent the spread of the influenza virus. Regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and staying away from you reduces the chance of transmitting the virus to others. Keep this in mind, especially when contacting vulnerable groups of people. They can become seriously ill from the influenza virus.

Source: RIVM