Romania on the verge of a flu epidemic, as high temperatures facilitate the activity of viruses

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Romania is one step away from the flu epidemic. In the last week, almost 2,700 cases were confirmed. For 3 weeks there has been an alarming increase in respiratory infections. Hospital emergency rooms are increasingly crowded, and 10% of those who arrive there are hospitalized. And high temperatures are an element that favors the activity of viruses.

In the last week there were more than 140 thousand respiratory infections, the most in the last 7 seasons.

In our hospital, the children’s ward is full, respiratory infections, flu virus and the number of adults with flu and severe forms is increasing, as is the number of those with Covid. The Covid ward is fully occupied, and the number of flu cases puts us in difficulty. There are many, including cases in intensive care units,” said Simin Florescu, Victor Babeș Hospital manager.

Adrian Marinescu, medical director Matei Balș Institute said in his turn: “When we have sudden changes in temperature, it is clear that the body adapts much more difficult and then it is clearly a factor, and not in a good way. These infections, and especially the possibility of more complications.”

The manager of the “Marius Nasta” Institute, Beatrice Mahler, said on Wednesday that many patients with respiratory infections who have pneumonia arrive at the medical unit, and at least in the last week the influenza virus, but also the respiratory virus, are more common. People with comorbidities are more affected.

“We have a large number of patients who arrive at the “Marius Nasta” Institute with respiratory infections with pneumonia, and the infectious agent, at least in the last week, seems to be more frequently the influenza virus and the respiratory syncytial virus than the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as we were used to in recent years. The forms of the damage are severe in relatively young people with comorbidities, that is, patients who have respiratory diseases, but who require hospitalization for complications. Respiratory complications and one of the most common is hemoptysis and certainly respiratory failure” , said Mahler.

She added that the current cases of flu and respiratory infections are more complicated, as “they are accompanied by extensive pneumonias with antibiotic-resistant flora”. Mahler also stated that some patients with respiratory diseases or chronic diseases arrive “quite late” for regular check-ups at specialist doctors’ offices, many abandoning their treatment when they feel better.

Doctors advise people to get vaccinated against the flu, but the vaccine is quite difficult to find. So far, 1.4 million people from the risk category have been immunized in Romania.

The Minister of Health, Alexandru Rafila, said on Wednesday that there is an algorithm that leads to the declaration of the state of epidemic: a progressive increase during three weeks of cases by at least 20% in each consecutive week and a rate of isolation of influenza viruses that exceeds 10% out of the total.

He explained that the exact situation will be known on Thursday and it is “very likely” to record the third week with an increase in the number of flu cases, which means that an epidemic can be declared.

No one should understand that restrictions and obligations will be introduced. It is about the measures that are taken at the level of health units to limit visits, in the hospital during the period that this epidemic situation will evolve, on the one hand. On the other hand, the measures related to the observance of the protection measures of the medical staff and patients in the medical units are being intensified, including the use of the mask in the medical unit, the epidemiological screening to avoid that people with respiratory viruses come to work. There will also be a set of general recommendations for the population – any person with a cold, including children, should not return to the community until after the symptoms disappear, because the most important thing is to be isolated and not to transmit the respiratory infection” , said Rafila.

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