Australia’s worst flu season could be a warning
Sky News reports that the UK could be set for a severe flu season after Australia – which typically serves as a predictor for the northern hemisphere – suffered its worst in five years.
The figures already show there are 10 times more people in hospital with flu than this time last year.
NHS leaders in the UK have warned the country is facing a “tripledemic” threat of COVID, influenza and a record demand for urgent and emergency services amid pressures on staffing.
Flu cases in Australia inform the northern hemisphere
Experts typically monitor flu cases during winter in Australia and New Zealand in order to inform predictions about the impact the virus will have when winter reaches the UK.
This year, Australia saw a rapid rise in flu cases, which started earlier than usual and reached record-high numbers. The majority of flu cases in Australia were due to influenza A, according to the Australian health department, which is known to cause more severe epidemics. New Zealand also saw its highest flu rates compared to the last two years.
Relaxation of COVID measures leads to spike in flu
According to an article in The Lancet, the sharp increase in infections was likely driven by a relaxation of measures put in place to combat Covid-19, such as isolation, social distancing and wearing masks.
“The Australian data provides a warning for an earlier and more severe influenza season in the northern hemisphere,” the researchers said. The authors also said flu had not been circulating as much over the last two years, so immunity against circulating viruses was likely substantially lower than compared with previous years.
Thanks to PeterA for the link
COVID-19 in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post
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