Flu, rhino and gastroenterology likely to return this winter

Flu, rhino and gastroenterology likely to return this winter

Cough. Sneeze. He blows his nose and sneezes. In the subway, in the office, in the supermarket, everywhere. The most hypochondriac among us would almost feel that we could see the miasma spreading with the naked eye, there, under the gray sky and the very cold temperatures of autumn.

If we hadn’t missed them, there is no doubt that winter diseases -which attack in autumn- are about to make their big comeback. Among the cases of Covid-19, sore throats and other nasopharyngitis join the viral festivities. Raising the specter of major epidemics this winter.

“We have seen the recovery for two weeks”

The figures already show it: during the week of September 19 to 25, “the incidence rate of cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI) treated in general medicine consultation was estimated at 127 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, observes the Sentinel network in their latest IRA surveillance bulletin, including Covid-19, seasonal flu, and all respiratory viruses. Increase in the rate compared to the previous week (93 cases per 100,000). And that has almost doubled in two weeks: the week of September 5 to 11, the incidence rate was “66 cases per 100,000 inhabitants,” according to the health surveillance network.

A finding that materializes in general medicine practices. “We see it in consultation: there has been a resumption of winter viruses for two weeks, confirms Dr. Luc Duquesnel, general practitioner and president of the Les Généralistes-CSMF union. Beyond Covid-19, which is starting again, we also have many cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which gives the same ENT symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, fever, body aches. So yes, it is increasing.

And young children are not spared either: “It is RSV that gives nasopharyngitis, angina and causes a dry cough, details the general practitioner. Children contaminate themselves before they contaminate their parents.

“The fear of a strong flu epidemic”

If the epidemic milestone is still far from being crossed, which is normal at this time of year, the figures should be carried away in the coming weeks. “In addition to angina and nasopharyngitis, we can expect the return of episodes of gastroenteritis in the coming weeks. But also and above all seasonal flu, in co-circulation with Covid-19”, warns Dr. Duquesnel. As the eighth wave of Covid-19 is already beginning.

A risk of a double epidemic against which Professor Alain Fischer, a former government anti-Covid vaccine, who fears a virulent return of the flu, also warns. And a set of data from the other side of the globe feeds his fears: the figures of the flu epidemic in Australia, which is raging in the heart of what is our summer, and which corresponds to the southern winter. According to the Australian Department of Health, the country just had its worst flu season in at least five years.

A scenario that could unfold in France this winter. “If we don’t manage to vaccinate more patients against the flu than last winter, obviously there is the fear of a flu epidemic,” Dr. Duquesnel worries, after the seasonal flu vaccination campaign will be launched on October 18. . .

“A great challenge to achieve better control of respiratory infections”

So, “we will have to remobilize a population that is fed up with infections and vaccines,” Professor Fischer explained in his interview granted this Wednesday to the Parisian. And there is urgency: “When we see the ease with which people have abandoned barrier gestures when we are in full recovery from the coronavirus, this can generate fears for the coming weeks,” adds Dr. Duquesnel.

“Whether it is with Covid-19, seasonal flu or other seasonal viruses, there is a real public health challenge to better control all these infectious respiratory infections, insists Dr. Benjamín Davido, an infectious disease specialist and leading physician. Covid-19 crisis at the Raymond -Hospital de Poincaré in Garches. For almost three years, behaviors have changed, but a relaxation in barrier gestures is regularly observed.

However, as doctors have pointed out since the start of the pandemic and even before: “Respect for barrier measures plays a decisive role in controlling these epidemics, underlines Dr. Duquesnel. Remember the winter of 2020-2021, the barrier measures were strictly observed by the population and we had not had these winter disease epidemics. No flu, no bronchiolitis. Perhaps wearing a mask in transport would be a good first step to protect yourself more. That, and vaccinating eligible people.”

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