Saturday, January 28, 2023

They anticipate a possible pandemic on the island of the influenza virus

Given the increasing number of influenza infections in Puerto Rico, the Department of Health is evaluating the possibility of declaring the existence of an outbreak or pandemic of this virus on the island, the head of that agency confirmed today.

“We’ve had a steady increase (in cases) since September,” said Chief Health Epidemiology Officer Dr. Melissa Marzan.

He warned that cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

“Time is very close,” epidemiologist says about possibility of declaring influenza outbreak or pandemicIt signifies that the latest data is being evaluated for decision making.

According to the most recent Influenza Surveillance Weekly Report, from the beginning of July to November 19, reported cases (7,971) were already well above last season’s (6,493).

“43% of cases have occurred in the past three weeks,” said Carlos Melado, the health secretary, for his part, who warned that 78% of infections are of the influenza A type.

Of the reported infections, only 156 people were vaccinated against influenza, which is equivalent to 2%.

“This year, the season started a little earlier,” commented the doctor.

Influenza cases reported over the past five weeks have passed the seasonal limit, but the pace of vaccination has been slow, with only 290,132 people vaccinated as of Monday, Melado pointed out.

The secretary pointed out that the majority of people who have responded to vaccination so far are adults, although a large proportion of registered infections have occurred in children aged 0 to 19 years.

iris cardona, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, specified that more than 60% of the reported cases are pediatric. He reiterated that the population most at risk of complications is those under the age of five, people with other comorbidities and pregnant women.

“There is an urgent call for vaccination,” Melado pointed out.

The secretary confirmed that the high level of infection has led to an increase in the number of people in hospital, particularly at the pediatric intensive care level. Occupancy of adult intensive care units is 64%, while the quota for regular hospitalization is 72%. Meanwhile, among pediatric patients, the rate of routine hospitalization is 52% and intensification is 56%.

“In the United States, 2,900 deaths from influenza have already been recorded, including 12 pediatric ones,” lamented Melado, stressing that Puerto Rico has already had two deaths this influenza season. Huh.

At the school level, he indicated, 162 outbreaks have been reported in schools, while 81 classrooms have been placed in isolation. The official reminded that parents should not send their children to school if they have any suspicious symptoms of influenza. He indicated that the use of masks in schools is still recommended, but not mandatory.

The trio of health experts also highlighted that the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. Some three daily deaths are being reported for a total of 5,361 deaths as of yesterday, mostly among unvaccinated people, adults over the age of 65 and patients with chronic conditions.

“Only 6% of eligible people have been given the bivalent (vaccine),” said Melado, who stressed that vaccination against COVID-19 specifically prevents complications and deaths.

Cardona commented that recent studies have concluded that the bivalent vaccine protects against multiple Omicron sublineages.

“With 1,000 cases a day, COVID remains a pandemic in Puerto Rico. And what is expected is that cases will increase because we know there are new sublines,” Marzan said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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