The influenza virus has reached the epidemic phase in the Islands, and has done so by registering three deaths of people who had been vaccinated and who accumulated previous risk factors. According to data from the Flu Surveillance System in the Canary Islands, referring to the week from January 6 to 12, the evolution of the incidence of the virus continues to be increasing, so, as experts have previously noted, the Archipelago is located few weeks of registering the peak of incidence. Specifically, according to the head of the Epidemiology and Prevention section of the General Directorate of Public Health, Amós García Rojas, this critical moment in healthcare could reach the end of January.
Currently, three strains of the influenza virus are in circulation in the Canary Islands. The Public Health Directorate of Canary Government It has collected 32 virus samples that mostly correspond to the AH3 virus and the ANH1. But positive samples of strain B have also been recorded. Likewise, the upward trend is consolidated in children aged 5 to 14, which had already been observed in the previous week. This time, however, there is a great increase in the incidence of babies (from 0 to 4 years old). In both age groups, 200 cases have been exceeded per 100,000 inhabitants.
230 patients with the flu
So far, hospitals in the Canary Islands have reported 167 cases of influenza without serious criteria, more than half were over 64 years and women. However, in 60 other cases, the severity criteria have been so high that they have led to hospitalization. Seven out of every ten patients included had at least one risk factor and almost 90% had not been vaccinated during this season. Three out of ten had to enter the Intensive Care Unit. In total, 230 patients with influenza have gone through public services.
The Public Health Directorate has also confirmed the death of three people this season, all three due to the incidence of the AH1N1 virus. Two of the deceased were women and one a man. Also, two belonged to the age group of 15 to 64 years and one of them to the group of over 65 years. The three arrived at the health services with some other associated risk factor. From the only deceased who had a vaccination record, it was found that he had not received the dose during this year. The data confirm that the lethality of the virus in severe cases is 6.38%.
After eleven weeks of vaccination campaign and during the second week of 2020, the General Directorate of Public Health continues to vaccinate the flu population. However, the rate of vaccination has been slowly decreasing. 1,563 doses have been injected this week, somewhat less than what was vaccinated that week of 2019 (18.93%). The balance of the campaign, compared to that of 2018-19, remains positive. This year there has been an increase in the administered and recorded doses of 8.07%, which represents 13,174 more doses.
García Rojas congratulated himself for having achieved these high vaccination rates, something that blamed "the important effort made by health professionals responsible for prescribing and administering vaccines." He also said that possibly the biggest rebound has been registered in pregnant women although he clarified that "there is no official data yet". Public Health, despite having already entered the epidemic wave, continues to emphasize the need to continue vaccinating people who have risk factors.
The disease soars
- The incidence rate of influenza is intensifying in Spain, already affecting 105.9 people per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest report of the Influenza Surveillance System of the Carlos III Health Institute, relative to the week of January 6 to 12. At the national level, the level of intensity of influenza activity is low, although the level of diffusion is extensive and the evolution is increasing. For now, the flu is affecting all age groups, although its incidence is lower among those over 64. By autonomous communities, Asturias and Navarra register a medium intensity level, being low in the regions, except in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Extremadura and Melilla, which is still at baseline as it has not reached its threshold established for this season. Also, the diffusion is extensive or local in most of Spain, except in Andalusia, Catalonia and the Valencian Community, which is sporadic, and void in Melilla. The evolution is growing, except in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Melilla, which remains stable.