'Flu cases rise 10-fold after increased testing

Covid tests also now incorporate testing for the 'flu and for RSV.
Covid tests also now incorporate testing for the 'flu and for RSV. Source: Karin Koppel

The incidence of influenza in Estonia rose ten-fold over a week, the Health Board (Terviseamet) says, the result of Covid tests also analyzing samples for Influenza A, Influenza B and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), from the start of this week.

The board's influenza chief specialist Olga Sadikova said that: "In comparison with the number of Covid cases, 'flu infection figures are not so significant. However, considering that 84 influenza cases were detected in the laboratory in Estonia last week, the growth has been almost tenfold."

A total of 978 RSV cases were found over the same period.

Both viruses can be dangerous for at-risk groups such as the elderly, those with co-morbidities, and also children under four years of age, while in an average year, 1,500-2,000 people will be hospitalized during the three-to-four-month 'flu season.

Around half of the 'flu cases came among school-children, Sadikova added, and, can spread the virus at school and in other locations, while a surge in numbers of cases can be expected in the next few weeks, she added.

At the same time, most schools in Estonia have been conducting bi-weekly Covid rapid tests, since the start of November.

As of last Monday, results of all three viruses are being combined with those for Covid.

Covid testing points usually involve a Nasopharyngeal PCR swab sample being taken.

RSV is a common respiratory virus which presents with mild, cold-like symptoms.

While the Influenza A virus primarily affects birds and some mammalian animals, some variants present in human beings too, while the Influenza B virus is known only to infect human beings, and also seals.

Influenza "season" in Estonia traditionally lasts from late October until the arrival of spring.

Information on testing for Covid is available from the Health Board in English here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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