The flu is still there at the start of spring: “We are in a later peak than in previous seasons”

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Crushed by the Covid-19 virus last winter, the flu is back and still there at the start of spring. Lighting with Dr Jean-Michel Mansuy, from the virology department of the Toulouse University Hospital.

Is the flu back or have we just forgotten about it?

We follow all viruses quite closely. For influenza, surveillance resumed at the end of September with 2 cases observed out of 122 samples taken at the hospital. These were probably imported cases. The rate of positive swabs for influenza jumped to 4.8% at the beginning of December and continued to increase thereafter. We were still at 17% two weeks ago.

We are however close to the end of March, is this usual?

There are no truths, especially since there was no flu epidemic last winter. It is true that we are in a later peak than in previous seasons. Rhinoviruses are also rising, which could be a sign that the flu is gone. For hospitals and in particular paediatrics, it is the respiratory virus responsible for bronchiolitis that causes a peak in activity and this year we got out of it before Christmas.

“Vaccination still protects”

Are people vaccinated against the flu in November still protected?

There is always a remote immunity from vaccination and it is important to remember. On the other hand, it is too late to get vaccinated now against the flu because it takes 10 to 15 days to achieve immunity.

The Covid-19 sometimes comes to confuse the cards, what advice would you give?

Covid tests are always accessible so in case of doubt we carry out one and put on our mask. If the test, well done and at the right time, is negative, we think of other infectious diseases such as the flu and we consult our doctor if necessary. But above all, when you know you are carrying an infectious disease, you pay attention to others. Even for a cold, we favor wearing a mask to limit the risk of transmission. The reflex of barrier gestures must continue.

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