Four new flu viruses will mix with coronavirus infection in the coming weeks. These are the influenza strains “Guangdong-Maonan” (Guan-gdong-Maonan), “Hong Kong” (Hong Kong), “Washington” (Washington) and “Phuket” (Phuket), reports “Trud”.
Virologists will pay special attention to the data on influenza cases in the period from December 29 to January 8, when it is possible to increase the spread of influenza. The New Year holidays are an occasion to gather more people in one place and this can contribute to an increase in influenza infection.
The coronavirus epidemic of COVID-19 has put the usual seasonal flu on hold. This is shown by the data of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control with the spread of influenza in the countries of the European Union.
The coronavirus has stopped the seasonal epidemic and the flu has literally squatted on COVID-19, doctors say, using football jargon.
The only reason within the EU in very few countries to have a small number of flu cases is the intensified anti-epidemic measures against COVID-19, commented Prof. Dr. Todor Kantardzhiev, head of the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases.
He explained that more than 250 samples for influenza A and influenza B arrive at the reference laboratory every week, but so far no cases have been reported. However, co-infections of COVID-19 in combination with rhinovirus have been detected.
“A week ago, we also registered a respiratory syncytial virus, usually up to two weeks after it, and cases of influenza were detected. This virus is extremely dangerous for premature babies and the elderly, “said Prof. Kantardzhiev. According to him, however, this season will not have the usual flu epidemic.
Currently, isolated cases of influenza are observed in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Portugal and Slovakia. Influenza activity remains low this winter, according to the weekly newsletter of Flu News Europe, which is a joint monitoring platform of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization.
Experts carefully analyze the data on seasonal flu and confirm that the relatively few cases of COVID-19 are due to the anti-epidemic measures and restrictions that countries have currently imposed.
If the situation was normal, as in previous years, we would have witnessed hundreds of cases of influenza, both in Europe and beyond, according to a virological analysis by French doctors published by Reuters.
Experts suggest that coronavirus superinfection may have triggered a mechanism by which the human body builds strong immune defenses and kills other pathogens.
Researchers have also argued that vitamin and mineral prophylaxis, increased disinfection in public places, and the use of personal protective equipment have also influenced the non-spread of influenza viruses.
Influenza data for the 2020-2021 season should be interpreted with caution, virologists say.