Flu peak expected between Christmas and New Year

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 11-12-2019 17:08:00 · 0 Comments

Flu in Portugal is expected to peak between Christmas and the second week of the new year, according to an estimate by the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF) based on the sale of medicines and health products for respiratory infections.

The ANF’s estimate is the result of a report based on the sale of medicines in pharmacies and was published today in Lisbon by the association's Centre for Health Studies and Evaluation (CEFAR).

The CEFAR team of researchers stressed that pharmacies can anticipate the most severe phase of contagion by two weeks, based on daily data on the sale of medicines and health products for respiratory infections.

The beginning of the epidemic phase occurred two weeks ago, according to data confirmed by the team of researchers, the association says.

"This new instrument has great value for public health because it alerts the population to the need to reinforce preventive behaviour", said Nuno Rodrigues, from the National Association of Public Health Doctors, who collaborated in the report.

The specialist said that collecting information gives health services more time to plan their response.

The data show that on average, pharmacies attend 520,000 people a day.

According to data from the "Vaccinometer", more than 1.3 million Portuguese nationals have already been vaccinated against influenza, with an increase in all groups compared to the same period last year.

Since 15 October, 1,187,042 elderly people and 179,889 citizens aged between 60 and 64 have been vaccinated, according to the results of the second wave of the report, which monitors vaccination against influenza in priority groups for the 2019/2020 influenza season.

More than half (52%) of individuals with chronic disease have already been vaccinated, which represents an increase of 11.3% over the same period in 2018, constituting the most significant increase among the priority groups.

The flu vaccination season started on 15 October in Portugal, with two million vaccines available, 1.4 million to be given free of charge to groups at risk through the National Health Service (SNS) and about 600,000 for sale in pharmacies.

SNS recommends vaccination for health professionals and other carers, including firefighters, as well as for people aged 60-64, pregnant women and some chronically ill people.

This year, for the first time, vaccines are tetravalent, protecting against four types of viruses, rather than the usual three. The tetravalent vaccine increases the likelihood that the content of the vaccine will match the viruses circulating in the environment and the vaccine is expected to be more effective.

The flu is a contagious disease that usually disappearsheals spontaneously. Complications, when they occur, occur mainly in people with chronic diseases or over 65 years of age.

The Vaccinometer, which is carried out for the 11th consecutive year, is promoted by the Portuguese Society of Pulmonology (SPP) and the Portuguese Association of General Practice and Family Medicine (APMGF), with the support of Sanofi Pasteur.


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