A strong flu wave hits the villages of the Bekaa Valley… an exaggeration or a reality that portends a bad health scenario?


When the Coronavirus spread in the countries of the world without exception, the world did not hear of cases of influenza or other seasonal viruses that countries were witnessing in varying proportions. After the H1N1 influenza became part of the seasonal influenza, and despite its tangible absence in the past two years, its spread today has raised questions and a state of panic in light of its coincidence with the increasing and rapid rise in corona cases.

The overlap between the Corona epidemic and influenza is worrying doctors and scientists, it is not easy to face two viruses or two waves at an accelerating pace at the same time.

In Lebanon, the villages of the Bekaa began to perceive the reality of the dangers of the two viruses converging in one spot. The region’s hospitals witnessed the spread of influenza cases, which are considered self-evident and natural at such a time, but they returned strongly after their absence last year as a result of the control of the Corona virus on the rest of the viruses.

An-Nahar learned that only 45 cases were registered today in one clinic, and these numbers, if they indicate anything, mean that a severe wave is hitting some villages for many reasons, the most important of which is changing the weather, mobile infection in schools, and neglect in prevention.

In this regard, the pediatrician and neonatologist at the Health Authority and Baalbek Hospitals, Dr. Akram Ismail, explains to “Al-Nahar” that daily about 40 confirmed cases of influenza are diagnosed, and that 75% of patients are infected with Parainfluenza with various symptoms, including high temperature, sore throat, Severe cough, runny nose with degeneration in the body. Doctors have to treat some cases in the hospital, especially children under one year, because they suffer from shortness of breath.”

According to Ismail, since Friday until today, it can be said that there are 150 cases of influenza that have been examined in hospitals or his clinics, not to mention other hospitals and clinics. Thus, we are witnessing an increase in influenza cases compared to last year, but it is considered normal if compared with previous years, that is, before the emergence of Corona. Accordingly, we receive 10-15 students from schools every day suffering from flu symptoms, so it must be emphasized, the importance of not sending children to schools when any symptom appears to prevent transmission of infection as we see today in Baalbek-Hermel.

Every day, positive results are issued in laboratories for cases of influenza, and this is evidence that the wave is strong and with severe symptoms for some. Most of these cases are due to influenza A, and the reason is due to mixing and infection inside schools and homes, and the absence of heating in light of the difficult economic and living situation.

It is true that not all cases of influenza are laboratory-documented as a result of the inability of some to conduct the examination, but the doctors in the region gather, according to what more than one follow-up confirmed that most of the cases fall between influenza and RSV. The most common symptoms are high fever, cough, joint pain, diarrhea and abdominal pain…

The confusing and complicated thing lies in the difficulty of distinguishing between influenza and corona, similar symptoms of two different viruses. Although seasonal influenza is one of the viruses expected to appear in this season, its spread in light of the high number of Corona infections predicts a health disaster and a frightening scenario in a country that is under severe financial and economic distress.

The epidemiological indicators of the influenza virus were low at the expense of corona, and preventive measures helped protect against transmission of infection even from viruses other seasonal. But today, in light of the easing of restrictions and measures, remarkable and large cases of influenza have been recorded, so what is happening in the Bekaa and Hermel region?

The epidemiological surveillance official in the Baalbek-Hermel region, Dr. Jihad Rizk, confirms to Al-Nahar that we are following up on the reported cases, most of which are just a common cold and not the flu, while we follow the details of influenza to ensure the validity of the circulated numbers, especially since there is an exaggeration in the matter. .

In the face of this reality, and between intimidation and reality, we are closely following all cases with doctors and school principals, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, to find out the correct numbers. We also sent a health team to Hermel to conduct PCR and influenza tests, and the results will reveal the truth of what is going on and the extent of infections from each virus.

Rizk’s words remain brief, awaiting the results, while Representative Jamil Al-Sayed tweeted that “the phenomenon of acute influenza that has recently spread in Hermel and its vicinity and infected many children, requires quick action and the dispatch of an emergency medical team to the area to find out its causes and treat it.”

Al-Sayed called “to circulate directives to citizens about infection, especially since the region’s capabilities are limited, and the ministry is required to act immediately.”

For his part, the head of the Baalbek-Hermel Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mahmoud Yaghi, confirmed to “Al-Nahar” that “many and remarkable cases of H1N1 influenza have been recorded in the region, but it is expected and not surprising in this season, especially since the region is mountainous and is characterized by its severe cold and the clear change in the weather.” Temperatures.

Laboratory tests concluded that most of these cases fall under the category of influenza, not corona, despite the rapid infection that spread from school to home or vice versa. Hospitals have witnessed increasing and large cases of influenza that show symptoms similar to Corona, the most important of which are high temperature, coughing, shortness of breath, and others.

Yaghi is surprised by the way some people deal with the issue with the aim of creating terror and panic, while the reality is not that bad, but it is normal in the season of seasonal viruses. He says, “The wave of influenza is in all of Lebanon, not only in the Baalbek-Hermel region, and pediatricians have been contacted to find out the cases they see, and they confirmed the presence of contagious influenza cases, but it does not require closing schools and does not call for a state of panic, but rather strict preventive measures to prevent transmission.”

Yaghi does not hide the presence of “an increase in cases of influenza, and what the region’s hospitals and doctors’ clinics witnessed confirm this, but we need to raise awareness about prevention and not send students to schools in the event of any symptom in order to avoid transmitting the infection to his colleagues. The most important thing is not to exaggerate and exaggerate as was discussed.” As a contagious epidemic and a severe wave sweeping the region, we need to tighten preventive measures and not provoke fear and panic, especially since cases are expected and normal in this season.”

The coming days will reveal the truth of what is happening in the region, and what the Baalbek and Hermel regions are witnessing is a sample of what other regions are witnessing, even if at different rates. Are we facing a severe flu wave?


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