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China’s current flu infection remains at the level of seasonal disease
Published on: 2023-03-08
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China’s current flu infection still remains at the level of a seasonal flu like in previous years before the COVID-19 epidemic, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), said on Tuesday in response to the public’s concerns over the current influenza spreading that shows an upward trend.

The annual influenza outbreak has entered its high level lately with the influenza A (H1N1) virus sweeping across the country in a matter of weeks, bringing up the proportion of influenza-like illnesses in both southern and northern areas. A total of 390 influenza-like illness outbreaks were reported nationwide during the eighth week of 2023 between February 20 and 26.

The alternating seasons of winter and spring is a period with high incidence of respiratory infectious diseases when influenza cases in China show an upward trend, Wu said in a Sina Weibo post on Tuesday.

Wu said that monitoring data from the sentinel hospitals nationwide set up by the China CDC shows that among influenza-like illness cases with the major indicator of a temperature above 38 C accompanied by cough or sore throat, the positive rates of infections with influenza virus have risen significantly in recent weeks from 0.7 percent between January 30 and February 5 to 4.1 percent between February 6 and February 12. The positive rates of influenza virus continued to rise to 14.3 percent between February 13 and 19 and further rose to 25.1 percent between February 20 and 26.

Based on that trend, Wu predicted that the flu epidemic will continue for a couple of weeks but compared with the situation in the same period before the COVID-19 epidemic, China’s current flu epidemic is still at the level of a seasonal flu.

He explained that the prevention measures against COVID-19 in the past three years also prevented the spreading of influenza, which led to the decreased immunity of the population toward influenza and provided favorable conditions for the spreading of the virus.

He also noted that there is no cross-protection against each other between COVID-19 and influenza thus infection of COVID-19 recently would not protect people from contracting the influenza viruses.



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