The influenza virus will increase towards Christmas, but the major outbreak will probably occur soon after the New Year, according to the National Institute of Public Health.
“In most parts of the country there is currently very low influenza diagnosis. However, we see a slight increase week by week indicating that an outbreak is near.
Many will probably fall ill during Christmas, but it is only after the New Year that more people will be affected, says Siri H. Hauge, Departmental Director at the Public Health Institute.
The virus types currently in circulation in Norway are A (H3N2 and Influenza B / Yamagata, which especially affected the elderly during last year’s season.
“It is the older age groups that fall the most seriously ill from influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B / Yamagata. Hospitalizations and deaths can be expected, says Hauge.
Studies indicate that large sections of the population had good protection against influenza A (H1N1) and the A (H3N2) influenza before the start of the season, indicating that the outbreak this year is going to be less severe, with fewer falling ill than last winter.
Hauge emphasizes that vaccination is the best way to prevent flu, even though this year’s vaccine does not protect so well against the virus types that are now circulating in Norway.
– The effect of vaccinations against influenza A (H3N2) and flu B / Yamagata is expected to be low to moderate. However, for people in the high risk groups it is important to vaccinate.
NTB Scanpix / Norway Today