Flu is very light this year. GPs see much less flu-like patients than last year, when a high-flu and wide-ranging wave dropped across the Netherlands from the end of January to the beginning of March. But the sting may be in the tail this time.
That is because of the H3N2 flu virus. That virus has been fighting with a H1N1 influenza virus since 2009 for a place in the middle of billions of geographers. With various success. Year H1N1 dominates, one year later H3N2. These are flu flu virus in both. Sometimes a B-flu virus appears.
The problem with H3N2 is that it has evolved into humans because so many sub groups have risen that each produces a separate immune response. They can not be stopped by one H3N2 vaccine. The H3N2 vaccine components have not worked so well in recent years, among other things, weekly Flu-Survey Newsletter from RIVM, Erasmus MC and Level last week.
The World Health Organization, which monitors flu types globally, sees that a vacuum (3C.3a) has appeared in the northern hemisphere since November 2018 that the current vaccine is totally inadequate. In the Netherlands, the laboratories see more and more H3N2 in recent weeks. "So that will be exciting," said Gé Donker, a GP epidemiologist, who collects data from the Level for patients who come to the doctor with similar symptoms flu.
Excitingly, the World Health Organization, completely against iron practice, did not decide yesterday what H3N2 virus is used for the flu vaccine used in the following winter in the northern hemisphere. Flu vaccines are adapted each year and that's the case for the North Hemisphere unlikely in mid-February. Then there is plenty of time to create vaccines that will be used at the end of October in the campaign of flu. The WHO influenza experts of the H3N2 element postponed for a month after three days of a meeting in Beijing. What flu vaccine H3N2 variation is expected in the coming weeks.
Despite the light flu, there is officially ten weeks, from December 10, a flu epidemic in the Netherlands. I've been published by flu experts from RIVM, Erasmus MC and Level. The Level receives weekly data from around forty GP surgeries that monitor the number of people who are experiencing flu like illness. If that number exceeds 51 per 100,000 patients for two weeks, and if the flu virus is detected in a neck swab, a flu epidemic can be declared. The 51 patients who report to the flu GP represent "eight to ten times as many actual flu patients," said Donker. Not everyone is going to the doctor with flu. In a small number of patients, the GPs take neck throats that they send to a laboratory that tries to identify the virus.
Up to the end of January, these laboratories measured flu viruses only two or three times a week. This is because other viruses can also cause flu-like syndrome than flu virus. In those first few weeks, disadvantage detected more RS virus than flu virus. RS virus is a virus that can cause respiratory respiratory disease and incredible, especially in very small children. Flu vaccine only protects against viruses and flu, not against the RS virus and against colder viruses more common.
"In December, flu experts from RIVM, MC Erasmus and the Level we could call a flu epidemic," said Donker. "We are looking at what is found in infectious hospitals in hospitals."
The official bulletins reported weekly headlines like Flu Flu during Christmas Holidays & # 39; a & quot; quacking the epidemic flu & nbsp; The flu epidemic message only attracted the last week. During the first episode of the epidemic of flu influenza, the laboratories saw predominantly flu H1N1 viruses. In recent weeks they have found more and more H3N2.
A person whose flu is still true is always difficult to say. Dark is not keen to predict "North Wales has this holiday this week, which often raises the infection chain." Next week, schools are in the middle and south. Country closed. But at the end of that week there is a carnival in the south, where the flu virus feels at home and wants to spread over the neck.