According to the latest Sentinel Network newsletter, during the first week of January, the influenza epidemic, which affects all of metropolitan France and is particularly intense in certain regions, is experiencing a respite at the national level. But the share of hospitalization after emergencies increases. The A (H1N1) virus remains predominant and, since little is known about the immune system of young people, they remain the most at risk.
According to the latest epidemiological bulletin of the Sentinel networks for the first week of January, in France, the frequency of influenza-like illnesses seen in general medical consultation fell to 423 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 527 cases per 100,000 inhabitants last year. week of December, 275,000 new cases.
The Sentinel Networks anticipate a stable epidemic over the week, but it is an anticipation that is built from data from a week when many liberal doctors were on vacation.
A respite before the start of the classes
A respite would be welcome, but the back to school is fearing a runaway epidemic. The influenza epidemic has reached all regions of metropolitan France and some remain in strong tension. The Ministry of Health said most hospitals had activated their emergency plans to cope with the influx of influenza patients.
The frequency of influenza is highest in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (785 cases per 100 000 inhabitants), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (642 cases per 100 000 inhabitants) and Occitanie (517 cases per 100 000 inhabitants). Hospitalizations always represent 0.1% of the cases and the reported clinical pictures are without particularity.
Increase in hospitalization share
The number of emergency room visits for ILI decreased (8,518 against 11,462 in the last week of 2017) and the number of hospitalizations remained stable (1265 compared with 1251 the previous week), causing the proportion of hospitalizations to rise emergency room visits from 11% to 15% during this first week of January.
As every year, the hospitalizations have of course concerned people older than 65 years (50%, because of immunosenescence and diseases associated with this age (co-morbidities), but this year, children are highly hospitalized (22% for those under 5 years old).
Prevalence of A (H1N1) virus and young people
This 2017-2018 epidemic is characterized by a clear predominance of type A (H1N1) virus. Insofar as it is an epidemic related to a very little known strain of the immune system of young people, it particularly affects them: in the last week of December 2017, 49% of the influenza under 15, and almost 20% led to hospitalization. In the first week of January, 34% of under-5s and 27% of 15-44 year-olds go to the emergency room for flu-like illness.
Maintaining preventive measures
The Ministry of Health remains mobilized and the prevention campaign remains relevant to try to limit the spread of influenza in school. The General Directorate of Health (DGS) continues to call for simple actions, the "gestures barriers" to limit the transmission of the disease. It is therefore essential that everyone adopts everyday preventive actions, especially in communities and public transport where it is easily transmitted.
Actions to prevent the spread of the virus
These "barrier gestures" are recalled by TV spots and emergency radio developed with Public Health France in the event of a large-scale influenza epidemic. The Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) was seized so that these messages of prevention health are diffused as much as possible, according to the device envisaged by the audiovisual law of September 30, 1986. There are 7 gestures barriers to adopt to protect themselves against the viruses of winter:
• Gesture 1: Wash your hands
• Gesture 2: Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• Gesture 3: Blow your nose in a disposable tissue
• Gesture 4: avoid touching your face, especially the nose and mouth
And when we are infected with winter viruses:
• Gesture 5: limit exits, contact the doctor if necessary
• Gesture 6: Limit direct and indirect contacts (via objects)
• Gesture 7: wear a mask (especially when in contact with fragile people)