Scientists warn of a major outbreak of influenza in the coming years


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Elaf from Beirut: A recent study expected a severe outbreak of influenza, as soon as the precautionary measures imposed in various parts of the world were lifted, to control the Corona epidemic, calling on people to take flu vaccinations.

In the study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Health used computer models to estimate the decline in influenza infection after implementing preventive measures to control corona, along with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to predict transmission of influenza. influenza over the next five years.

Measures taken to prevent “Covid-19”, such as wearing masks, physical distancing, travel restrictions and school closures, led to a 60 percent decrease in influenza infections in the ten weeks since the implementation of those measures last year.

low immunity

The study indicated that the reduced exposure to influenza during isolation and prevention measures, in turn, led to a decrease in immunity in humans.

Dr Jonathan Stowe, head of the department of virology at the Francis Crick Institute in London, told Medical News Today: “The study of this suggests that a decrease in the number of (influenza) infections in 2020 will lead to a decline in the immunity of the population, which in turn will contribute to Influenza cases have increased for several years.

The researchers expected that with the easing of preventive restrictions in many countries, this could lead to a large-scale outbreak of influenza, noting that low levels of influenza during an epidemic may make it difficult to predict the type of influenza strains that can be used in making future vaccines, and this It can reduce the effectiveness of flu vaccines.

“Not inevitable”

On a more optimistic note, the authors acknowledge that a bad flu season is “not inevitable,” arguing that it’s possible that flu cases are underreported during the Corona outbreak, so there may be more people exposed to the virus than you realize. their computer models.

They also explained that because influenza transmission is reduced, the virus will have less chance of mutating and producing new variants.

For his part, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee, USA, Professor William Schaffner, expressed his dissatisfaction with the suggestion that people should not report that they have the flu.

He said, “Last year had the lowest flu rate that any of us can remember, because of the restrictions imposed as a result of Corona. I don’t think there has been an underreporting of the flu. We haven’t detected a big drop in tests, but a little flu has been detected, so I think the rate is low.” The flu low was real.”

He continued, “Other respiratory infections have increased as life begins to return to normal, which indicates that we need to take the warning of bad flu season seriously. This summer, with restrictions easing and children returning to school, there has been a rise in cases of the virus. respiratory syncytial, an infection that usually only appears in the winter months. This could be a harbinger of things to come.”


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