In the past week, 771,000 Italians were put to bed by flu syndromes. Children under the age of 5 are particularly affected
The flu runs like it hasn’t happened since the 2009-2010 season, the year of the swine flu pandemic. According to the latest data from the InfluNet surveillance network of the Istituto Superiore di Sanit, in the past week 771 thousand Italians were put to bed by flu syndromes, equal to 12.9 per thousand inhabitants.
More than 2.5 million have contracted the infection since the start of the season. To reach this number, last year we had to wait until the beginning of January. Children under the age of 5 are particularly affected: last week there were 40.8 cases per thousand in this age group; in the 5-14 age group the rate was 25.02 per thousand; 10.10 between 15 and 64 years and 5.04 over 65 years.
There are six Regions in which the season has already reached an intensity considered high or very high: Emilia Romagna (20.24 cases per thousand), Umbria (19.61), Lombardy (17.80), Veneto (16.43 ), Autonomous Province of Bolzano (16.09), Marche (15.58).
The data tells us that the flu returned worse than it had left us in 2019 and started off like a rocket, we returned to the driving force of the 2009 flu with high numbers anticipated compared to the season. We already have important numbers at the end of November – explains Matteo Bassetti, director of infectious diseases at the San Martino hospital in Genoa -. Surely today it is scary also for all that it carries around with a quantity of pan-flu viruses, pneumococcal diseases and even pneumonia. Someone says let’s put the masks back on, I say absolutely not. These microorganisms must circulate and have always circulated, we must protect ourselves but how? For example, we’ve lost a lot of coverage for pneumococcus, pneumonia vaccination, but also flu vaccination.
As for the flu in Lombardy we are witnessing a perfect storm that brings together several factors that put medical departments and studies in difficulty: from the poor health literacy of parents to the workload of individual pediatricians who also have up to 1,400 patients to follow. If, as has been happening in recent weeks, the incidence of cases rises rapidly, various problems are created, says Roberto Caputo, regional secretary of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians (Fimp) of Lombardy.
The flu must be seen for what it really is: a disease of excess proximity. In the sense that children get sick the moment they start attending community activities. So, just to try to explain in very few words the topic we are talking about these days, it would be enough to ask parents, worried about their children’s flu ailments, a simple question: “But 24 months ago, when we were all in lockdown, is your child ill?”. To the answer of a choral “no”, we could easily draw logical conclusions, underlines the immunologist Mauro Minelli, responsible for Southern Italy of the Foundation for personalized medicine.
December 3, 2022 (change December 3, 2022 | 16:50)
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