There are 18 active influenza A outbreaks in the country that concern public health entities
Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the national association of these clinicians, defends the adoption of protective measures against Covid-19.
Although it has been forgotten in recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, influenza A seems to be making a comeback. The latest figures from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA) reveal that we are in an “uptrend” of cases – there have been several outbreaks in the country. Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the National Association of Public Health Physicians, told NiT that “the cases are being investigated, but the values are not that different from those recorded in the pre-covid period.”
Influenza A is often confused with other seasonal flus., especially because most of the symptoms are common to the different influenza viruses. The main difference is that this virus generally causes higher fevers and more intense muscle pain. This strain also has a high transmission capacity, but in most cases the effects wear off after a few days. Despite everything, “it is recommended that infected people stay at home and adopt respiratory etiquette”, specifies the doctor.
In the period referring to the week from February 28 to March 6, according to INSA, 165 positive cases have been recorded for the flu virus – all of the type THE. The incidence rate of influenza-like illness rose to 15.1 per 100,000 inhabitants and several foci of infection were recorded in different regions of the country.
About the active epidemics of this flu, Gustavo Tato Borges acknowledges that “the spread of the disease is relatively normal, but this year we are detecting more cases than usual in Portugal”. Everything indicates that “although the specific health characteristics of the patients have not been identified, the cases were born from exposure to infected animals”. A file which is studied “by the competent authorities”, he specifies. The public health expert recalls that “containment measures [adotadas para evitar a propagação da Covid-19] become smaller. There is a great desire to return to normality, that is to say that there are more meetings and events, which normally materialize in larger gatherings”.
Regarding the possibility that these epidemics are linked to the Carnival season, the doctor assumes that “the different parties that have taken place can be linked to the greater occurrence of epidemics”.
The president of the ANMSP warns that “the symptoms are confused with those of seasonal flu and with those of other respiratory diseases, such as Covid-19. And the level of contagion is just as high. So It is essential to prevent the transmission of influenza A, using the same measures that we have used to fight the disease that has haunted the world for the past two years. “Wear a mask, avoid crowded spaces, practice social distancing, respiratory etiquette, do not go to work with flu-like symptoms, wash your hands and get vaccinated frequently.
Gustavo Tato Borges also points out that doctors believe that “these measures should really become habits to prevent the spread of these communicable respiratory diseases, such as seasonal flu”. Above all because, “as we saw last year” – he recalls – “the effect of these measures has made seasonal flu practically non-existent”, he concludes.