The city of Rio de Janeiro has been facing an outbreak of influenza, popularly known as the flu. In the last seven days, the Municipal Health Department of Rio de Janeiro registered 6,300 cases and found that children are the biggest victims of the disease. The updated numbers register 24 patients hospitalized in the city due to the disease, 23 of which are children between 0 and 12 years old and an elderly person. This percentage is equivalent to 95.8% of those hospitalized for the flu.
The Municipal Health Department (SMS) reinforces that children and the elderly should seek the flu vaccine immediately. The vaccination campaign against influenza is unrestricted, but the priority is currently children over 6 months and seniors over 60 years. It is important to reduce the chances of developing severe respiratory conditions and, according to studies, the flu vaccine, although not a substitute, can reduce symptoms and transmission by Covid-19.
Due to some similarities in symptoms, the flu can be confused with Covid-19. If you have symptoms, look for the nearest health clinic. The health department says that the test currently applied in care units is the antigen test, with 93% reliability. Daniel Soranz, Rio de Janeiro’s municipal health secretary, explains that the RT-PCR test is also used in those who tested negative for the antigen to completely rule out the suspicion of Covid-19.
Last Monday (22), the municipality’s epidemiological surveillance network dispatched 300 samples collected at health facilities for genomic monitoring to Fiocruz and Lacen. Soranz states that from the samples analyzed, 73% confirmed the presence of Influenza A.
Leonardo Bastos, researcher at the Analytical Methods in Epidemiological Surveillance group at Fiocruz (Mave-Fiocruz) explains that the flu has no specific treatment, just for the symptoms, and measures used against the coronavirus, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, also help to prevent other people from being infected., decreasing new cases.
The predominant subtype in the city today is H3N2, according to SMS. Researcher Marcelo Gomes, also a member of Mave-Fiocruz, has followed the history of influenza virus circulation in Brazil and explains that H3N2 tends to cause milder effects on the body than H1N1, popularly known as swine flu.
Have you had a flu shot?