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Flu, angina… Why are winter viruses expected to be more virulent this year?

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Yasmina Kattou, edited by Romain Rouillard
06:21, October 04, 2022modified to

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07:00, October 04, 2022

While temperatures have dropped drastically in recent days, health authorities fear epidemics of respiratory infections of all kinds. In medical offices, consultations exploded in the space of 15 days. These viruses could also be more aggressive this year.

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Runny nose, sore throat, chilliness… So many classic symptoms of winter illnesses that many French people are already encountering with the drop in temperatures. As the 8th wave of Covid-19 continues to rage, other winter viruses are beginning to emerge. During the week of September 19 to 25, the incidence rate of cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI) seen in general medicine consultations was estimated at 127 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Figures that have doubled in the space of 15 days.

“We have seen an acceleration of pathologies in the ENT sphere. It started slowly for a fortnight”, confirms Jérôme Marty, president of the French Union for Free Medicine. If it is impossible for the time being to speak of an epidemic, some patients are already beginning to seek information to protect themselves from the flu. “Patients, especially elderly, have been asking questions for two or three weeks to know when should they be vaccinated,” continues the doctor.

Declining immunity after 3 years of barrier gestures

Especially since the epidemics of influenza, nasopharyngitis and other viruses could be more virulent this year. The fault of a more fragile immunity, explains Jean-Paul Stahl, infectiologist. “The entire population was less frequently in contact with these viruses the previous winter, due to the health measures imposed by the Covid. So the population is less immune to these viruses. It is a risk factor, indeed , for a larger outbreak.”

The application of barrier gestures can however limit the spread of these epidemics, recalls the infectiologist. Each year, the flu kills on average between 8,000 and 10,000 people.

Source: Europe1

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