Cases of respiratory infections are continuously increasing. As the latest report of the surveillance system of the Carlos III Health Institute demonstrated this Thursday, the incidence of flu in particular continues to increase. Positivity percentage 46%This figure is up from 27% the previous week and also exceeds the weekly peak reached last season, which was 36%.
What is the evolution of the epidemic?
According to the latest report from the Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance System (SIVIRA), the epidemic continues to grow in week 52 (25 to 31 December). Cases are rising in primary care, with a flu rate of 438.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (up from 249.4 cases per 100,000 the previous week); And cases in hospitals are also rising (9.5 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to 5.9 cases last week), which has also seen a rise in Covid cases, although slightly more so.
Global rate of acute respiratory infections in primary care (ARI) increases at week 52 952.9 cases per 1 lakh populationThat’s much higher than the 921.7 cases last week and the 533.4 cases per 100,000 residents registered in early December.
What does the doctor ask for? Are masks necessary again in health centers?
Estimates are that the seasonal pandemic will not peak for at least two or three weeks, which is why the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (Cemfic) proposes to recover the “extraordinary” protection measures used during the pandemic. Have given. how andMandatory mask use in primary care centers To reduce infection or establish separation spaces in waiting rooms. Furthermore, they ask the population to visit these centers only when they need medical care.
The Federation of Associations for the Defense of Public Health (FADSP) also claimed yesterday the need to take measures strengthen the health system, and especially primary care, given the increase in the incidence of respiratory infections that occurs these days in Spain and which is generating a “situation of saturation in health centers”. The organization also believes that the obligation to wear masks in health centers should be re-introduced, with the possibility of doing so in public transport also being evaluated, although it emphasizes that “this current reality shows that The health administration has not taken the necessary measures.” The actions needed to prevent and/or combat this situation, which is not new, as it occurs every year at this time, and is, therefore, completely expected.
Can I get vaccinated if I have already undergone infection?
Jaime Jesús Pérez Martín, president of the Spanish Association of Vaccinology (AEV), recalls that vaccination is recommended even if infection has occurred. “If you have already recovered from the acute episode, even if you still have cough, you can get vaccinated. Logically, you are vaccinated for other possible strains, not for the strain you have contracted. If you have had H1N1, you will be vaccinated against H3N2 and the Victoria lineage of influenza B.
Influenza A, although it is called in a simplified way, has two types, as the President of AEV explains: “H1N1 and H3N2. “Then there is influenza B, which also has two types, Victoria and Yamagata, although only the first is spreading now.”,
Which strains are circulating?
As the latest report from the Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance System shows, among the 1,003 influenza viruses identified with type/subtype information, 923 are type A (98.9%) and 10 are type B (1.1%), Of the A viruses, 154 are A(H3) and 423 are A(H1)pdm09 (26.7% and 73.3% across subtypes).
Pérez Martín indicates that A(H1)pdm09 is the pandemic H1N1: «We had the H1N1 strain before the 2009 pandemic, but that was completely replaced by another new, pandemic strain, the 2009 one. They are still children of the 2009 strain.
Should you always get tested to detect the virus?
Pérez Martín explains that “epidemiology is needed to know what’s going on, and for that we have them. Then, If it’s a healthy individual that you’re not going to give specific treatment to, it’s less useful there. If they belong to the risk group and you can give them treatment, whether it is antivirals against flu or Covid, the utility is higher. It is true that curiosity affects us all in a universal way, but it is more useful when you are going to use differential measures in treatment. For this reason, the President of the Spanish Association of Vaccinology explains that “if in the end a symptomatic treatment is being prescribed, the utility is very low. Furthermore, the tests themselves will not tell you what type of influenza A it is, And the same thing happens with Covid: if the test doesn’t tell you what type you are experiencing, it is not very useful unless you go to a differentiated treatment.
According to data collected by the consulting firm Equia, in the last week of 2023, sales of antigen tests in Spanish pharmacies exceeded one million units, three times more than that recorded in the first week of December last year. .
When do we have to go to the doctor?
Experts remember that most of these are respiratory infections. does not require medical care and heals after a few days without specific treatment beyond general painkillers. Those most affected should rest for a few days, limit contact and/or stay at home until they feel better and should only consult a health professional if they are an at-risk person, e.g. That the elderly, pregnant, immunocompromised patients or patients with chronic pathologies; Or if the development of the infectious condition is unfavorable or presents signs of severity, contact the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (SEMFYC).
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