Virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco, guest of the “Buongiorno” program, explained that at the moment “there are the first sporadic cases of seasonal flu, later we await the strongest forms”. According to the professor, there are “from 6 thousand to 10 thousand deaths a year from flu but last year due to the Covid pandemic it had very little impact”. It is important to “restart the vaccination habit”, warns the expert
“The coronavirus pandemic wiped out flu last year.” Virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco, medical director of IRCCS Istituto Galeazzi Milano and associate professor at the University of Milan, guest of the “Buongiorno” program on Sky TG24, explained that at the moment “there are the first sporadic cases, we are already seeing and suffering forms of flu due to the cousin viruses that this year are raising the ridge throughout the Northern hemisphere and in Europe. And they are the starter of what we will see, fortunately they are H3N2 viruses that are similar to those expected in the composition of vaccines. “A warning also came from the ECDC, according to which seasonal flu could be more violent this year than ‘last. “What we are seeing now are the classic’ pre-seasonal ‘, later we await the stronger forms.” According to the virologist, “the flu is an underestimated problem, but it hurts too. In normal years it has made to suffer from 6 thousand to 10 thousand deaths “but last year” due to the Covid pandemic had very little impact. In 2020 we had a flat calm, but this was determined by everything we had to do due to Covid which has practically eliminated the flu and respiratory infections which are less diffusive. All this has indirectly shown, among other things, that all this effort has served because it has certainly also limited Covid which, however, has managed to maintain its diffusivity due to its ability to penetrate most of the susceptible subjects.
Symptoms and vaccination
Influenza, after the first cases, the surveillance of the ISS begins
As for the symptoms, they are the classic ones. “The flu is characterized by a sudden increase in fever over 38, joint pain and respiratory symptoms and unfortunately with the Delta variant all this sadly resembles Covid”, says Pregliasco. “But it is never easy to say when the real epidemic is triggered. and its own, usually when temperatures stay low for an extended period between the holidays, but each year has its own story. For this, it is necessary to get back into the habit of flu vaccination ”. Then he added: “What worries us, and this is the message of the ECDC, is that since two of the viruses that are circulating are new, they will be able to spread more widely. The flu from a symptom standpoint is no more or less bad every year, but it becomes a public health problem in terms of its ability to spread. A winter that is not going to be very pleasant from this point of view ”, he concluded.
Pregliasco: “Hypothesis between 4 and 6 million cases of influenza”
Vaccines, those against the flu can be done in the pharmacy
According to Pregliasco estimates, the hypothesis is that there may be “between 4 and 6 million cases of true flu, plus the flu-like forms of the many less invasive viruses, plus Covid”. The epidemic phase is expected. “With the arrival of the cold.” Since it is very difficult to distinguish the flu from Covid, it is essential that “even healthy adults get vaccinated against the flu.” Also because it is to be kept in mind that we must still expect ” a tail shot of Covid, linked to what is being done, thanks to vaccination, for a return to normal life to which is added the classic winter risk and the fact of staying more indoors “.
The importance of vaccines
Influenza, the virologist Pregliasco: “This year there will be an epidemic”
“Fortunately, there are vaccines”, concludes Pregliasco. “You need to inquire with your family doctor and with the local reference structure to plan the vaccination that can be administered in the same session with two distinct inoculations because studies have shown that there is a loss of efficacy and not even heavier side effects. “Lombardy is ready for the flu vaccinations and is organizing itself for the vaccinations in parallel. The vaccination campaign is operational. So all those who want it and are entitled to free vaccination can begin to take action, we are in the right time. ” . “Unfortunately – explained the virologist – the Delta variant has made the symptoms almost indistinguishable with normal flu, so we will have to take swabs to at least differentiate these two forms. We must also remember that even the flu is not trivial because it has complications “.