There has been a noticeable increase in cases of flu and pneumonia in South Africa compared to last year, along with the time it takes for affected individuals to recover.
The Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis (CRDM) has announced its concerns regarding the rise in cases in a report, saying, “The 2019 South African influenza season, which started towards the end of April, is ongoing. Transmission of influenza measured using the Viral Watch programme and impact measured using the pneumonia surveillance programme have both reached high levels.”
As more people struggle to kick the nasty bug so do more find themselves contracting the flu from friends, family members or colleagues.
The CRDM has declared that the risk of contracting these respiratory illnesses will extend until October this year.
Influenza A (H3N2) has been identified as the most prevalent strain this year. According to the CRDM, “To date, the majority 711/783 (91%) of influenza positive samples for this season, detected by three surveillance programmes, have been identified as influenza A(H3N2). Influenza A(H3N2) is one of the three seasonal influenza viruses prevalent in human populations.”
Along with being longer than is the norm, the 2019 flu season also started earlier in the year. The first week of June is usually when it begins, but this year reports of cases of flu began being recorded in April.
CRDM warned that some groups may be especially vulnerable to this spike in flu cases, particularly pregnant people, the elderly and those already suffering with a disease that weakens their immune system.
Locals are encouraged to be cautious and even take immunity-boosting supplements for prevention. Additionally, individuals who contract the flu should take at least two days off work to reduce the spread of the virus and shorten their recovery time.