Influenza A identified as cause of current flu surge

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Business, COVID 19, Health, Local News | 0 comments

Influenza A identified as cause of current flu surge

Staff Reporter

HARARE is battling a surge in influenza cases, with over 1 300 confirmed infections being reported so far this winter period.


In an interview with ZBC News this Monday, Harare City’s Health Director, Dr Prosper Chonzi confirmed the surge in cases which are concentrated in high density suburbs which include Mbare, Glen View, Budiriro, Tafara and Glen Norah.


He, however, reassured residents that while flu symptoms can resemble COVID-19, tests are confirming Influenza A.


“It’s true that we are seeing a number of flue cases or flue like cases throughout the country and particularly in Harare. It’s not uncommon though that as you transition from the warm season into the cold season like we are doing right now you get an increase in flue like symptoms. There will be circulation of many viruses and some of those viruses are the ones that cause the flu.


“We have isolated Influenza A type virus in most of the cases that we are seeing right now. Of course the symptoms are COVID-19 like symptoms because most of us have experienced it before. We have been testing, doing PCR testing to confirm whether or not were dealing with the same strain of COVID-19, but what we are seeing is on the contrary, it still appears like what is circulating is the influenza virus.


“We encourage people to still practice what we were teaching them the last time we were experiencing COVID-19. Good personal hygiene keep warm, seek medication early if you are unwell so that we avoid complications. People have a role to play in terms of personal health, but as it is we have not confirmed that this is covid 19 as we had experienced it in 2019 to 2022,” he explained.


Dr Chonzi highlighted that young children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are most susceptible to severe flu complications.


“Influenza normally affects children, so those that are under five or under four years are mostly affected. Those that have comorbidities and the elderly, those are also severely affected. If you are fit if you exercise regularly and if your immunity is okay you may have symptoms, but they are not as severe as the ones that you are seeing right now. So most of those that are succumbing or most of those that are experiencing very severe bouts its because they may be having other comorbidities or they may not be as strong in the sense as they should be but the children of course as they are still young their immune systems has not yet fully developed so they will have severe disease the elderly will also experience severe disease those that are also immuno compromised will also experience severe disease,” he added.


Influenza symptoms range from mild to severe.


Treatment of Influenza is mainly supportive since it is a viral infection.


While most people recover without treatment, respiratory distress may warrant administration of oxygen and hence those with severe disease may require admission.


Although prevention is mainly through vaccination, people are also being advised to stay warm and eat healthy food rich in vitamins and minerals.