Infection department chief at Ahus: The flu season could have a severe effect on hospital capacity

Akershus - AhusPhoto: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB
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The FHI has asked Norway to prepare for a challenging flu season. Hospitals could face challenges if they have to treat many corona patients at the same time as the flu season hits.

“The hospitals have significant challenges with capacity in a normal flu season. We did so well during the first wave of COVID-19 because the other respiratory viruses disappeared completely. If we get an extra hard flu season, it could go affect the hospitals’ bed capacity”, Jan-Erik Berdal, infection department leader at the large hospital Ahus in Eastern Norway told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Already in July, the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) asked Norway to prepare for strong waves of the flu, pertussis, and RS virus infection.

Immunity

The population’s immunity against these diseases has fallen during the pandemic period, where strict infection control measures have led to few cases. For example, there were almost no flu cases last season.

In a normal season, it is estimated that around 900 people die, and 5,000 are hospitalized with the flu. 

“Usually, we manage to handle quite a few flu patients even in a peak year, but we usually don’t have a pandemic going on at the same time,” assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad said.

Norway has ordered 1.8 million flu vaccines, and the vaccination of risk groups and the elderly will start in October.

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

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