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Number of influenza victims surpasses previous season's record

51 people have died of influenza-related complications this year, four more than in the previous season.
51 people have died of influenza-related complications this year, four more than in the previous season. Source: Sille Annuk/Eesti Meedia/Scanpix

Though the spread of influenza viruses this season has been slower across several age groups, the number of deaths has increased again over last week and is now higher than in last year's season.

In Estonia 51 people have died of influenza-related complications. 48 of them were 65 or older, the Health Bord reports.

All of the victims belong to high-risk groups either because of their age or because of chronic disease. Not one of them had received a flu shot. The most common diseases contributing to the fatal course of the influenza infection included cardiovascular and lung diseases as well as tumors and diabetes.

In the 2016-17 flu season, 47 people died, which was already a significantly higher number than in previous years, where the record number was 22.

Last week 6,619 people turned to their doctor or to a hospital because of infections of the upper respiratory tract. 38.5 percent of the cases involved children. The largest group of people among those who needed medical attention were children under the age of 15.

The spread of the influenza viruses this year has slowed across all age groups except for those over the age of 65, where the number of infections on average has increased by 50 percent.

The most common reason for people seeking medical attention because of flu symptoms are still the currently prevalent influenza viruses. They make up some 72 percent of all viral diseases currently around. The current flu season is dominated by three main influenza strains, two of which belong to the A group and one to the B group of the viruses. Other viral infections of the respiratory system were mostly connected to the RS virus.

Since the beginning of this season, 1,019 people were admitted to various hospitals, 181 of which during the last three weeks alone. 71 percent of those who needed to be hospitalized were adults and elderly patients.

A total of 139 people have required intensive care so far. One of them was healthy apart from the influenza infection, for five no data was available about other diseases and infections, and two of them were in critical condition when they were hospitalized.

The highest incidence of the flu and related infections last week was reported in Lääne County, Järva County, Viljandi County, and Ida-Viru County as well as Narva.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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