Influenza and delta plus, the circulation of both viruses threatens winter stability

Once 'controlled' the Covid-19, the problems can come this year from the seasonal influenza epidemic. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control

Influenza and delta plus, the circulation of both viruses threatens winter stability

Once 'controlled' the Covid-19, the problems can come this year from the seasonal influenza epidemic. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has just launched a statement in which it affirms that, although the circulation of the virus is still very low, the first cases have been detected in Croatia. One of the factors that have made the alarm skip is that the main subtype notified between the cases recorded in Europe during the last month is A (H3N2), which disproportionately affects the elderly and is associated with a lower effectiveness of The vaccine against the seasonal virus.

This is a sign that the next flu season could be severe for the elderly and that virus behavioral patterns may vary between countries in terms of time, as the ECDC warns. Thus, this data is to sustain the prediction that a team of researchers from the National Center of Influenza de Valladolid (Valladolid Nic) in Spain. The study, published in vaccines, collects that the absence of epidemic last year can be problematic "since the disappearance of circulation of certain pathogens can lead to a decrease in collective immunity against them."

Since this work is aimed at the possibility that the virus circulates more intensity before planning. "Normally the rebound of flu cases arrives around the schools behind the Christmas holidays, and are the children who make vectors from the virus, remember it," explains Salvador Trenche, president of the Spanish Society of Family Medicine and Community (semfyc). Like "unlike the VOCID-19, in the flu children are important diffusers of the virus [superspreaders] because they eliminate more viruses and for longer than adults. In such a way that annual flu epidemics need the epidemic In children to spread the rest of the community, "says Raúl Ortiz de Lejazu, virologist and exdirector of Valladolid Nic.

It may be a few weeks and is prior to parties and, in addition, the number of cases is greater. "We have made forecasts and there is a lot of previous experience. When soft winters have been given with a low incidence rate, the following registered more cases and more serious," explains Ivan Sanz Muñoz, one of the authors of Labor and Scientific Responsible and Virological surveillance of Valladolid Nic.

But with the current situation of start or risk of entering a sixth wave of Covid because of the Delta Plus variant (which responds to the nomenclature of Ay.4), the situation this winter is complicated. According to the last variant health report, it has already begun to rise in Spain: at the moment they add more than 30 cases analyzed. "We are facing a dangerous combination, since it is multiplied by five the risk of death if a patient is infected with both viruses," Muñoz recalls.

Finding a strong flu epidemic may be due to "the decrease in group immunity especially in children as a result of last year's rigid confinement and other non-pharmaceutical measures," says Ortiz de Lejazu. This expert adds that "there is more possibilities that if influenza viruses are introduced as a result of the increase in international trips, an advance of the seasonal flu epidemic occur that in recent years has occurred between January and February."

It should be noted that the campaign of the flu is already underway throughout Spain and that this immune shield added to the maintenance of prevention measures against Covid (masks, hygiene and distance) are the only ones that can change the course of predictions. Lejarazu Ortiz Remember that "you have to get vaccinated from the flu so you can pass."

The objectives of the Ministry of Health for the Season 2021-2022 are achieved or overcome vaccination coverage of 75% in greater, preferably from 65 years and in health and sociosanarian personnel, as well as exceed 60% in pregnant women and in people With risky conditions. Last year we already beat records with respect to previous seasons: 65.3% more than 65; 17.9% from 64 to 18; and 73.9% of the Sanitarians, according to data from the gripometer.

Since the Charles III Institute also registers some flu activity. Thus, in the last report it is collected that "in week 41/2021 there have been no contact detections of influenza viruses from the surveillance of IRA [acute respiratory infections] in primary care. In week 41/2021, Aragon He has notified the detection of a virus A (H3) and other ANS, and Madrid the detection of two Viruses, coming from samples not sentinel. Based on genetic studies carried out at the National Center for Microbiology and the Microbiology Laboratory of the Vall D Hospital 'Hebron of Barcelona in recent weeks, 3 influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been characterized, two in Catalonia and one in Baleares, all of them from Group 3C.2A1B + T131K-A (Grupo Bangladesh). "

"The early detections of subtype A (H3N2) are an indication that the next influenza season could be severe," says Pasi Penttinen, director of the ECDC Flu Program, in a statement. A pronounced increase in infections by this virus during the current VOC-19 pandemic could have serious consequences for the elderly and those with weak immunological systems, and could suppose an additional burden for health systems that are already affected by the Coronavirus Therefore, it is important that we take the necessary precautions and protect those who are at greater risk, "she adds.

The situation of the next months is ideal for provoking the perfect storm. "We spent more time in closed spaces, the drop in temperatures arrives, the conditions are the same for the entire hemisphere," explains Muñoz, who underlines the importance of immunological memory: "We are still vulnerable to Coronavirus and we are also to strains of influenza that we do not face last year ".

Updated Date: 28 October 2021, 09:01

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