Health experts in China issue alert as seasonal influenza cases spike

Seasonal Influenza. Representational image by Li Lin on Unsplash.

Beijing/IBNS: The recent COVID-19 surge is slowly waning in China but the country is currently witnessing a spike in seasonal influenza cases.

Schools across the nation have been prompted to suspend classes and even health experts issued alerts amid rising cases.

The number of flu outbreaks almost tripled in the last two weeks of February, with 112 recorded nationwide in the week ending February 19, according to data from the China National Influenza Centre as quoted by The South China Morning Post.

In China, outbreaks involving at least 10 people must be reported to health authorities.

Nearly all of the samples that tested positive that week – 99 per cent of 786 samples – were infected with influenza A, a common flu virus that causes symptoms such as fever, aches, headaches and diarrhoea.

Health authorities attributed the rise in influenza A cases to factors including low immunity and more movement of people after Covid-19 restrictions were scrapped in December.

In the east, Zhejiang authorities said influenza A had not been prevalent during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The [flu] vaccination rate has been low in the past three years and the population is generally susceptible,” the Zhejiang Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Tuesday.