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FHI asks Norwegians to prepare for strong flu season

Flu vaccinePhoto: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) is asking Norwegians to prepare for strong waves of influenza, pertussis, and RS virus infection. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

“The National Institute of Public Health considers that, in the coming autumn and winter, there is a high probability that the incidence of respiratory infections other than COVID-19 will be much higher than in normal seasons.

“This applies in particular to influenza, RS virus infection, and pertussis. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable,” the FHI writes in a new risk assessment.

Weakened immunity

The main reason is that the immunity of the population against these diseases has fallen during the pandemic period, as strict infection control measures have led to few cases.

That could lead to significantly more hospitalizations of young children (RS virus infection, pertussis, and influenza) and the elderly (influenza and pneumonia) than in normal winter seasons. There may also be more deaths. The primary health service will also have an increased burden, the FHI warns.

It is emphasized that FHI has “moderate confidence” in the risk assessment.

Increased preparedness recommended

On average, the FHI estimates that 900 people die from influenza in Norway during a normal season, but in some seasons, the number has been close to 1,500.

In the risk assessment, the FHI recommends increased surveillance of respiratory infections other than COVID-19, strengthened vaccination and infection control measures, and strengthened preparedness and vigilance in the health service.

Both influenza and RS virus normally cause outbreaks during the winter season, while pertussis is most often seen in late summer and autumn.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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