Danger for children: doctors in the US are sounding the alarm because of the flu virus this year
This year, the outbreak of influenza in the United States will not be so dangerous due to the prevalence of the B virus strain. But it is this virus that is much more likely to be infected by children and adolescents, rather than adults and the elderly. This was stated by the specialist in infectious diseases Bernhard "Bad" Wiedermann, who has been studying a number of infectious diseases for about 40 years - from malaria to Lyme disease and fevers, informs USA Today.
When outbreaks began in the fall a few weeks earlier than usual, Wiedermann and his colleagues at the Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC, noticed that the main cause was a virus that usually did not appear until the end of the season. This virus is often caught by children.
“We all here, seeing the results of the studies, were surprised:“ What is happening? This is very strange, ”Wiedermann said.
Although early signs indicate that potent strain A (H3N2) is the biggest problem this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said most diseases were caused by the B / Victoria viruses and then the A (H1N1) viruses .
The largest number of cases was in Louisiana, where a New Orleans pediatric institution reported 1 confirmed viral infections in children from July 268 to November 31, resulting in 21 hospitalizations.
On a national scale, the activity of the influenza virus is high and will remain so for several weeks, although the severity of the disease seems lower than in the previous year. Last season, at least 9,7 million cases of influenza, 87 hospitalizations and 000 deaths were reported.
More than 68% of the positive results of research in clinical laboratories were associated with influenza B virus, which was not prevailing from the 1992-1993 season. These infections account for almost half of hospitalizations.
“In my opinion, there is a common misconception that influenza B viruses are associated with a milder form of the disease than influenza A viruses,” said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund. “But influenza B viruses can cause serious illness in people of all ages, including children and adults.”
Symptoms are the same regardless of the virus: in many cases, the temperature rises, sore throat and body begin; cough, fatigue, runny nose or nasal congestion, headaches appear. But there is, however, one significant difference - this year there are more different viruses, which more often infect young people than older ones.
According to the CDC and Wiedermann, it is imperative that children receive a flu shot even during this period of the season. In recent years, about 75% of children who die from the flu have not been fully vaccinated.
Nordlund says data showing the effectiveness of this season's vaccine in controlling common viruses will not be available until late February. Preliminary results are still inaccurate. But she added that such protection is better than nothing at all. In addition, studies have shown that the consequences of getting the flu are less serious for those who are vaccinated than for those who have not been vaccinated.
CDC and Wiedermann emphasize that the flu vaccine is effective and strongly recommends it to pregnant women, regardless of their trimester, as well as children six months and older who can take antiviral drugs such as Oseltamivir (known under the brand name Tamiflu) and others as an early treatment or prevention.
Wiedermann, a professor of pediatrics at George Washington University, is concerned about the vulnerability of unvaccinated children to the virus, which is usually not a serious problem at this time of the season.
“If we have a combination of the lack of immunization and a body so young that it has not yet seen the real effect of virus B, then this means that we have many children who are not safe from this virus,” he said. “Therefore, we expect many of them to become infected.”
As previously reported by ForumDaily:
- New York 11 year old the boy died due to flu, the acute course of the disease led to cardiac arrest.
- Luca Calanni from Hamburg contracted the virus in early 2020. Mother showed him to doctors three times.
- The family says that Luke was vaccinated. However, the flu expert at the National Institutes of Health explained that this year the vaccine does not correspond to strain B - it is he who is responsible for most serious illnesses and deaths of children.
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