Rezza (Higher Institute of Health): many infections for third consecutive year, but less than 2018-2019
The flu peak has come with 7 million people getting sick. “The trend of flu infections is delayed compared to last year and we probably won’t get to 8 million cases in 2018-19, but beyond 7 million definitely will. We expected something less, this is quite a high activity, for the third consecutive year,” explains Gianni Rezza, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Iss), on the sidelines of the Flu Summit 2020 conference, organized by Sanofi Pasteur in Rome.
As every year, the category of 3-4 year old children is the most affected but is very high even at 5-14 years of age. “Among the elderly – he points out – there are instead less infections, because they certainly enjoy a ‘vaccine effect’, since they have vaccination coverage around 53%, still low but still much higher than the rest of the population, where the average is 15%.
In fact, it is the children who bring the flu into the family. “Schools – he explains – are the real factor amplifying the epidemic and when we deal with vaccinating the elderly we do not do a containment strategy,” as they do in other countries vaccinating the youngest. “Vaccinating the elderly does not serve to contain the virus – he concludes – because they are not the ones who support the epidemic, but it serves to prevent serious cases and deaths in this segment of the population.