Influenza season 2022 2022 a brief summary

The symptoms of a "real flu" – also known as influenza – differ from those of an influenza infection primarily in that the onset of the illness is sudden: high fever, chills and severe pain in the limbs strike "right away" here.

Hand hygiene protects during flu season.

Particularly in immunocompromised persons, children, and the elderly, influenza often leads to complications and severe consequences. The disease is predominantly caused by influenza viruses A and B, which are able to constantly change in molecular structure and thus cannot be recognized and fought by the immune system as a "known threat".

A look into the early 20. Century

This is also the reason for what is probably the best-known influenza pandemic in recent human history, going back just one hundred years. Between the years 1918 – 1920, the "Spanish flu" claimed at least 25 million lives worldwide. Caused by variants of the subtype A H1N1. According to a study by Worobey and colleagues, the virus possessed the H1 of "normal" influenza and the N1 of avian influenza. [1] Type H1 was reported to be present in influenza viruses in the last decade of the 19. It is thought that the H3 type (in combination with N8) dominated before H1 gradually reasserted itself from 1905 onwards. The fact that young adults aged 20 to 30 in particular succumbed to Spanish flu is explained by the fact that they had not been infected by influenza viruses with hemagglutinin type 1 during childhood. Such a reason for the extent for the disease.

Influenza in the present

100 years later, in the here and now, influenza claims more than 500 worldwide each year.000 fatalities. This is supported by the latest figures in the well-known journal The Lancet from 2018. [2]

"Even though viral influenza can transmit the highly contagious pathogens aerogenically from person to person, contaminated surfaces play just as big a role in spreading it. Thus, hand hygiene is of paramount importance in the prevention of infection. For indication-appropriate hygienic hand disinfection according to the 5 moments according to WHO, limited virucidal hand disinfectants must be used to effectively eradicate these enveloped viruses and break the chain of infection."

How the incidence and magnitude of viral flu is behaving specifically in Europe is being studied by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). As part of weekly updates, the institution reports in detail on progress. Influenza virus types for all European countries. With the onset of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, ECDC declared the current 2018/2019 influenza season officially over at the close of calendar week 20. The numbers show that activity was less intense compared to the previous season. Means: less infections and deaths. [3] It should be noted, however, that the 2017/2018 influenza season was exceptionally strong in terms of infection and death rates, surpassing all previous years. When looking at the virus responsible for the infection, it is noticeable that virus type A predominated in this flu phase – in the previous season, virus type B still dominated the action.

A look across the pond

As a counterpart to the ECDC in Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, monitors and documents influenza activity across the U.S. territory. Again, the 2018/2019 influenza season recently ended and shows parallels to the European pattern: The nearly 40.000.000 flu cases in the United States are about 20 percent lower than last year's case numbers. The approximately 60.000 influenza-related deaths in 2018/2019 are also lower than those from 2017/2018, where the CDC reported 78.000 deaths registered.[5] Looking back to 2010/2011, the 2017/2018 flu epidemic ranks second in terms of hospital admissions – unsurprisingly behind last year's, which was also extremely rampant in North America. However, the recently ended season takes a real top spot in terms of its duration. So she broke the record from the 2014/2015, which effectively lasted 20 weeks. [6]

"This season reached an all-time high in terms of duration."

We see that the 2018/2019 influenza season in northern regions was dominated by influenza A virus and was less extreme in terms of infections and deaths than the previous period but ranked among the top when considering the entire decade since 2011. For example, the Robert Koch Institute in Germany this season registered about 180.000 flu cases. In some cases, this is quite significantly higher than the case numbers in years prior to 2017/2018.000 cases of influenza and is thus in some cases quite significantly above the case numbers of the years before 2017/2018. [7]

Impressive data was provided in mid-June by the Department of Health in Australia, where the flu season is just beginning: with more than 75.000 influenza infections in the week of 03.06.2019 – 09.06.In 2019, experts expect a dramatic progression on the continent.[8]

The ingo-man smart euro dispenser.

Prevention beats infection

In order to protect yourself effectively against influenza, careful hand hygiene is an important measure in addition to vaccination, which must be refreshed annually because viruses are very versatile. Especially frequently touched objects in public areas are true "hot spots" for these pathogens. Can be the starting point for contact infections with influenza viruses.

Scientific work confirms the effectiveness of hand hygiene measures to prevent influenza infections. Specifically, a 2015 study found that improved hygiene behaviors in educational settings can reduce flu cases in children.

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