Public health doctors say there is ‘abnormal spread’ of influenza A in Portugal

From the press room with Lusa

The president of the National Association of Public Health Doctors said on Friday that there is an “abnormal spread” of the influenza A virus in Portugal and called for the adoption of protective measures used for covid-19 .

Gustavo Tato Borges told the Lusa agency that at the moment it is normal to have cases of influenza, but he stressed that “there are so many cases of influenza A is not so frequent”.

“The spread of the disease is proving to be relatively normal, but this year we are detecting more cases than usual in Portugal,” he said.

The specialist recalled the influenza A epidemic that occurred in the Leiria region with “a very large dimension”, which affected more than 60 young people and was being investigated by the health authorities of the Center region, in addition to reports of the spread of influenza A. cross-country infection.

The president of the association noted that vaccination against influenza again this year includes protection against influenza A, but said that vaccination coverage is more restricted to risk groups, and “there are many children , young people and adults who have not been vaccinated”.

To prevent influenza A, as well as other respiratory infections, Gustavo Tato Borges advised the use of the mask in situations of larger population groups, respiratory etiquette, not going to work with flu-like symptoms, washing frequent hands and vaccination.

He recalled that the effect of these measures was reflected last year when the flu was practically non-existent.

Contacted by Lusa about suspected outbreaks in schools, the regional health administration of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo said that “the suspected cases of seasonal influenza – subtype A have been identified in a community context, not associated with a specific school”.

“We emphasize that influenza activity remains at a similar level to last year, including the circulation of several respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza – subtype A,” he said in a written response. at Lisa.

Also contacted by the Lusa agency, the president of the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine, Nuno Jacinto, declared that the cases of influenza A “will not be something abnormal”.

“We are in winter and there are already few containment measures, so respiratory infections occur. We have been aware of some cases of influenza A, although in daily clinical practice it is difficult for us to know which virus it is, ”said Nuno Jacinto, explaining that this surveillance is carried out by the National Institute Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

According to INSA’s influenza surveillance bulletin, for the week of February 28 to March 6, the incidence rate of influenza-like illness rose to 15.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, in an upward trend of influenza activity.

During this period, 165 positive cases for the influenza virus were recorded, all of them type A. In 20 of the cases, the subtype A(H3N2) was identified and in one of the cases the subtype A (H1N1), according to INSA, noting that the incidence values ​​must be interpreted taking into account “the reorganization of care for respiratory patients and the smaller population under observation than that observed in the same period in previous years. “.

Clinical influenza surveillance values ​​were determined through the Sentinel Physician Network, an information system comprised of general and family physicians from the mainland and autonomous regions.

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