Flu, worrying diffusion: Marche in sixth place in Italy

Incidence of new cases of flu-like syndrome in the various Italian regions. The last colored column (47) corresponds to the week from 21 to 27 November (Source: Istituto Superiore di Sanità)

It was reported here in Cronache Maceratesi by colleagues Romano Mari and Pierfrancesco Gentilucci the worrying spread of flu-like syndromes in the Macerata area, which could depend on the flu virus or other respiratory viruses. What the two doctors noticed in their clinical practice matches the data perfectly of the influenza-like disease surveillance system of the Higher Institute of Health.

Surveillance takes place with the contribution of a network of general practitioners and paediatricians of free choice, as well as with that of the referents at the Local Health Authorities and the Regions and of the regional reference laboratories for influenza. The aim is to estimate the weekly incidence of new cases during the winter season in order to determine the onset, duration and intensity of the epidemic.

The figure shows the weekly diffusion of new cases of flu-like syndromes in the various Regions measured on the basis of the number of cases reported for every 1,000 patients.

In the Marche region, the diffusion is among the highest with a weekly incidence in the period 21-27 November of 15.58 new cases per thousand assisted, in sixth place in Italy. It is worth emphasizing that the flu is not a trivial disease as evidenced by a study that documented the impact that the flu had in Italy in the four winter seasons from 2013/2014 to 2016/2017 (here is where you can download the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31401203/). Fortunately, the prevention tool exists and it is the vaccine. For the Higher Institute of Health, the vaccine is recommended not only for the over-65s but also in children aged 6 months-6 years, in the elderly in the age group 60-64, in health and social-health professions , in pregnant women and in all patients with diseases that make a serious flu disease more likely (such as chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, tumors, cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure).

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It should be remembered that the flu vaccine can be administered simultaneously with the fourth dose against Covid. Unfortunately the Marches don’t particularly like these two vaccines. Last year only 62.8% of the over-65 year olds from the Marches had the flu vaccine (much better than the Italian average anyway), as for Covid we are still in the last places in Italy. For example, in the 5-11 age range we are in penultimate place. After some initial hesitation, even the new Minister of Health Horace Schillaci he sided in favor of the two vaccines as evidenced by the commercial that the ministry has prepared in this regard. Let’s hope that even our home politics will finally express itself decisively in favor of the vaccination campaign against flu and Covid. And we hope that citizens will join.

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