Flu season has started but no cause for alarm — NICD

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There is no influenza outbreak in South Africa, other than the normal increase of cases expected during winter, News24 quotes the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) as saying. “Every year in South Africa, we see a marked increase in influenza transmission during the winter, called the influenza season,” the NICD said. “During this period, people infected with influenza increases, including patients seeking outpatient care and hospitalised individuals.”

Furthermore, it was also common to observe clusters of influenza cases within homes, workplaces and schools as people spread the infection to one another, according to the NICD. “These clusters are expected and are not a cause for alarm.”

The NICD also said that the impact of influenza, which was a measure of how much the illness was seen in the season was currently moderate. “To date, the majority 357/390 (92%) of influenza positive samples for this season, detected by three surveillance programmes, have been identified as influenza A(H3N2).”

The report says the institute has advised that the best way to prevent the spread of influenza is to stay at home if you are sick. “It is important to wash your hands frequently and dispose used tissues,” the NICD said.

“Bed rest and taking lots of fluid are recommended. You should seek medical care if there are worrying signs such as chest pain or shortness of breath.

“School closures are not recommended as these can be disruptive and will not necessarily stop the spread of influenza.”

News24 report
NICD material

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