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Pernambuco records the first death from a new influenza strain

Pernambuco recorded 42 cases, the first death from the H3N2 flu strain, which has already recorded outbreaks in at least nine other states. The information was released at a press conference, Thursday, by the Minister of State for Health, Andre Longo. The victim is a 46-year-old man. At least ten people died, in addition to the deaths recorded in Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Alagoas and Bahia.

The Director stressed the importance of the population continuing to wear masks amid an epidemic scenario that unites the Covid-19 pandemic, the development of influenza, and the risk of viral spread posed by the holiday season.

The physician and head of the infectious diseases sector at Oswaldo Cruz University Hospital, Demetrius Montenegro, who also took part in the interview, explained that the new influenza virus appears to be eluding available vaccines, and that while the immunization agents are inadequate, the population needs to remain particularly vigilant. Demetrius explained that the new influenza strain and its micronized variant, Covid-19, have similar symptoms, such as nasal congestion, reinforcing the need to seek health services and get tested.

“The protection provided by the mask is greater against influenza than against Covid. And while new vaccines do not arrive, it is better to use masks and wash your hands,” he explained. If symptoms develop, the ideal is to practice isolation for seven days, according to the infectologist.

He added, “It is possible that a micron enters Pernambuco and complicates the relationship between Covid and influenza, because this type of Corona virus is the most similar to the symptoms of influenza.” According to Demetrius, there are differences in the development of diseases. A Covid-19 patient does not usually need to be admitted to hospital in the first few days of symptom onset, as exacerbations, when they do occur, are caused by inflammation in the lungs. On the other hand, influenza patients are at greater risk at the beginning of their cycle, due to the bacterial pneumonia they can infect. He explained that “examinations are important to distinguish between the two diseases.”

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“We are noticing that people are giving up the mask. We are in a time of socializing and most people are already taking two doses and feeling safe, but the flu has arrived to show that we can’t give up the mask,” he said.

Minister André Longo also noted the importance of taking current flu vaccinations, to avoid other types. He explained that of the 3.8 million doses sent to municipalities this year, only 2.7 million were used by the population. “It is especially important to vaccinate children, the elderly and people with severe comorbidities, who are the most vulnerable groups.

Longo added that, on Tuesday, 50,000 rapid Covid-10 tests will be sent to private hospitals in the state so that there is a clearer distinction between coronavirus and influenza data.