Health Board: No confirmed influenza cases in Estonia so far

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Flu season. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

There have been no confirmed cases of influenza in Estonia during the autumn and winter so far, the Health Board has said.

In the period between November 30 to December 6, a total of 4,355 people sought medical aid due to upper respiratory tract infections, of whom almost one third - 1,288 - were children.

The highest number of cases were registered in Tallinn and in Tartu County, while there have been no cases in Hiiu County.

"There are no confirmed influenza cases in Estonia. Rhinovirus is circulating here in the current season, which is characterised by sneezing, a head cold, and in some cases throat pain, occasionally with a cough and fever in children," said Eliisa Metsoja, senior specialist at the Health Board's Influenza Centre.

The spread of influenza cases across Europe remains low

According to the European Influenza Surveillance Network, the intensity of the spread of influenza remains low in the European Union. None of the influenza samples which were analysed through the sentinel screening system in the period between November 23-29 were positive.

In the week before this, three laboratory tests were found to be positive for influenza, including for influenza A and B. Influenza cases were identified randomly from non-sentinel sources (such as hospitals, schools, and primary level care establishments, which are not involved in sentinel screening, as well as care homes and other institutions).

Symptoms of a viral infection

The symptoms of viral upper respiratory tract diseases usually include a head cold, cough, sore throat, and fever. Many of these cases are mild, involving a low-grade fever and no significant symptoms. The various viruses are difficult to identify based on their clinical symptoms alone. A specific virus can only be identified by means of analysis which is carried out by a virological laboratory.

The symptoms are usually limited to the upper respiratory tract in the form of a head cold, cough, or low-grade fever. Just like influenza, however, parainfluenza, RSV, and adenovirus infections may also result in pneumonia. Symptoms may range from an upper respiratory tract inflammation to pneumonia, especially in children. There is no specific treatment. If necessary, supporting treatment is used which alleviates the symptoms, such as in terms of lowering the fever, using analgesics, drinking plenty of fluids, and administering medicinal products which facilitate breathing.

Rhinoviruses are characterised by sneezing, a head cold, and sometimes throat pain. Children may also experience a cough and a fever. Rhinoviruses are responsible for approximately 30-40 percent of what are usually called 'colds' in adults.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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