“Serious risk”: the flu epidemic could be “more severe” this winter, scientists warn

The Covid will probably not be the only virus you will hear about this winter. The flu should indeed make a comeback despite the lulls of its last two years.

Scientists warn of a flu epidemic that could be quite virulent this winter. After two years of calm, in particular due to the measures to combat Covid, which had indirectly slowed the progression of the flu, the abandonment of barrier gestures and a relaxation, combined with a drop in immunity, could well propel it to center stage.

The Australian scenario

The scenario feared by scientists in France is modeled on the one unfolding in Australia, where a particularly virulent epidemic is currently coming to an end. There, the flu raged between April and October (the seasons being reversed compared to our hemisphere) and the number of monthly cases proved to be higher than those of the years 2017 and 2019, already remarkable for the number of sick and fatal cases, recalls BFM.

The flu in Australia was very present compared to 2020/2021 and stronger than the average of the last 5 years on a majority of criteria. The probability that we will have a similar trend in France this winter is strong. pic.twitter.com/vHhCU74dwB

— The Flohic (@DrGomi) September 3, 2022

This situation worries: “What happened in Australia is an element of alert”, explained the professor of immunology Alain Fischer to Parisian this Wednesday, September 28. The former president of the Scientific Council believes that there is currently “a serious risk of an influenza epidemic”, also nourishes by a relaxation of barrier gestures.

Barrier gestures and immunity

“This year, it will be difficult to maintain the same level of protection : masks, distancing, intensive hand washing…”, he told Le Parisien. And faced with the new rise in Covid-19 contaminations, Alain Fischer warns: “Covid-flu cohabitation is nothing short of joyful. This is synonymous with a very high number of hospitalizations.

While the flu has circulated less in the past two years, the decline in immunity also worries some scientists. This is particularly the case of Dr Rossi, infectious disease specialist interviewed by TF1, that he “is therefore possible the flu will be more severe this year.”

As a response to ensure the protection of the population, vaccination is recommended by the health authorities. As a reminder, the flu vaccination campaign begins on October 18 for people over 65 and vulnerable people.

“This year again, the anti-influenza campaign could be concomitant with the fall campaign against Covid-19”, recalls the public service site.

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