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Flu season: 15 dead of influenza-related complications

A patient being vaccinated against the flu. Photo is illustrative.
A patient being vaccinated against the flu. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Margus Ansu/Tartu Postimees/Scanpix)

Last week, the same number of people sought medical attention for viral upper respiratory infections as during the week before, but the number of such patients to be diagnosed with the flu or a flu-like illness jumped 38 percent. Influenza has claimed 15 lives in Estonia so far this flu season.

Last week, a total of 5,829 patients sought medical attention due to viral upper respiratory infections, over 48 percent of whom were children. While this number had remained steady compared to the week before, the number of such patients to be diagnosed with influenza or flu-like illnesses increased 38 percent, the Health Board announced.

The number of cases of the flu or flu-like illness was highest in Lääne-Viru County, Tartu County, Põlva County and the capital city of Tallinn.

Influenza viruses currently account for 73 percent of all viruses currently spreading.

Three strains 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.

Since the beginning of the current flu season, 336 flu patients have required hospitalization. In the past two weeks, the number of such patients has tripled, particularly among the 20-64 and 65+ age groups.

According to the Health Board's information, 48 people between the ages of 47-92 have required intensive care, 45 of whom belonged to risk groups.  This season, seven people from care homes have ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU), four of whom later died.

The flu has claimed 15 lives between the ages of 60-89 in Estonia, 13 of whom belonged to risk groups based on age and serious chronic illness.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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