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Health Board: This year's flu epidemic ruthless

The 2017-2018 flu season has already claimed 12 lives in Estonia.
The 2017-2018 flu season has already claimed 12 lives in Estonia. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

According to Estonia's Health Board, this year's flu season has been especially tough and ruthless, considering how many patients have required hospitalization and the 20 people that have lost their lives to it all before the time of year when flu season typically arrives.

Infections with influenza, which had showed signs of subsiding during the first couple of weeks of the new year, were on the rise again by week three.

Last week, altogether 6,300 people, of which nearly 40 percent were children, went to their doctor with upper respiratory viral infections. The total number of those sick increased by 15 percent in one week.

At the same time, the number of those sick with the flu or flu-like infections increased by 29 percent. Numbers remained steady only in the 15-64 age group, while the number of children and the elderly increased by an average of 40 percent.

This week, information was received regarding an additional six deaths caused by the flu, of which three died last week. This brings the total number of flu deaths this season to 20, of which one was a 7-month-old child and the remainder were over 65 years of age, thus belonging to risk groups.

According to Estonian eHealth Foundation data, a total of 529 patients have required hospitalization this flu season. During the past two weeks, the number of those hospitalized has increased the most among elderly patients, who now account for over 60 percent of those hospitalized. According to data from a total of nine hospitals across Estonia, 62 flu patients, ranging in age from 7 to 95 years old, have required intesive care since the beginning of December.

Since the beginning of the current flu season, influenza has been laboratory confirmed in 1,532 cases, 1,418 cases of which were influenza A and 14 of which were influenza B. Of these, a total of 59 different strains of influenza A were identified.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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