The death toll is expected to increase in the coming weeks as the flu epidemic spreads further across France
While the new Chinese coronavirus is occupying everyone’s mind, the flu epidemic is booming everywhere in France, except in Normandy, in the pre-epidemic phase. According to Public Health France, 22 people have died in France from seasonal flu since November, a toll which should increase in the coming weeks.
[#Grippe] Point de situation au 29/01
Épidémie en cours dans toutes les régions métropolitaines, excepté la Normandie
➡️ Pour consulter le bulletin hebdomadaire https://t.co/oR3datANkP pic.twitter.com/Tr7VvSEHTP
— SantépubliqueFrance (@santeprevention) January 29, 2020
In Reunion, the epidemic is now over while it has still not started in Guyana . In the past week, the flu in France represented a consultation rate of 190 per 100,000 inhabitants, a “sharp increase” compared to the previous week (122).
10,000 deaths each year in France
The victims are “two children under 15, twelve cases aged 15-64 and eight cases aged 65 and over,” according to the public health agency France. Since early November, “244 serious cases of influenza have been reported” and admitted to intensive care, including 29 last week. The average age of these serious cases is 53 years, and three quarters had risk factors (age over 65, chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart and respiratory failure, etc.). Three-quarters of the patients who presented risk factors were not vaccinated.
“The proportion of influenza-like illness among SOS Doctors’ consultations is also increasing sharply” (11.3% last week compared to 7.3% the previous week), according to the health agency. Similarly, emergency room visits and hospitalizations for influenza or influenza-like illness have increased sharply: there were 5,514 and 460 respectively last week, compared to 3,480 and 335 the previous week.
“The passages mainly concern children under the age of 5 (35%) and the 15-44 age group (31%). Hospitalizations particularly concern children under the age of 5 (29%) and people aged 75 and over (21%), ”explains Public Health France. Each year, this viral disease affects 2 to 6 million people in France and kills 10,000 on average, according to official figures. Globally, the annual death toll is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) between 290,000 and 650,000.