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Peak of flu season has arrived, very young children most affected

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 Health Board data, the number of new cases of influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, has increased significantly in Estonia, and the trend is set to continue in the coming weeks.

The number of new cases of the flu or flu-like illness spiked 65 percent last week, indicating that the peak of the current flu season has arrived.

"As the serious increase in contracting the flu only just began, it sometimes takes up to another three weeks to reach the peak, which means that the number of cases may start to subside beginning at the end of February," Health Board communications adviser Iiris Saluri told ERR, adding that she nonetheless could not make any rock-solid promises.

Last week, a total of 6,188 people across the country sought medical care for upper respiratory viral infections, indicating an increase of 33 percent among the ill.

Particularly sharp increases in the number of viral infections were recorded in Põlva County, Tallinn, Harju County, Tartu County and Jõgeva County. The highest numbers of patients were children ages five and under, but the number of new cases continues to increase across all age groups.

A total of 72 percent of samples taken from those infected with upper respiratory viruses tested positive for some strain of influenza.

Three types of flu are currently making the rounds in Estonia: influenza A(H1N1), influenza B, and influenza A(H3N2). Of the three, influenza B continues to dominate, particularly in Southern Estonia.

Based on statistics received by the Health Board, a total of 31 people between the ages of 47-92 have required intensive medical care due to the flu this season, including 29 individuals who belonged to risk groups.

12 people have died so far this flu season, all of whom belonged to risk groups and none of whom were vaccinated against the flu.

This season, six people from care homes have ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU), three of whom later died.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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