Respite on the front lines of the flu : effectiveness of preventive measures ?

Health 11 January, 2018


Published the 10.01.2018 at 16h38


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According to the latest epidemiological bulletin of the network Sentries for the first week of January, in metropolitan France, the incidence of influenza-like illness seen in consultation of general medicine is down to 423 cases per 100 000 inhabitants, compared to 527 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in the last week of December, 275 000 new cases.
Networks Sentinel predicting a stability of the epidemic on the week, but it is an anticipation which is built from the data of a week where many doctors were on vacation.

A moment of respite before the back-to-school

A respite would be welcome, but back-to-school fears of an escalation of the epidemic. The flu epidemic has reached all regions of metropolitan France, and some remain in strong tension.
The incidence of influenza is highest in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’azur (785 cases per 100 000 inhabitants), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (642 cases per 100 000 inhabitants) and Occitania (517 cases per 100 000 inhabitants). The hospitalizations still account for only 0.1% of cases and the clinical pictures reported are unremarkable.

Prevalence of the virus HAS(H1N1)

This epidemic 2017-2018 is characterized by a predominance of influenza A(H1N1). To the extent that it is an epidemic that is in connection with a strain that is very little known of the immune system of the young, it particularly affects young people : during the last week of December, 2017, 49% of passages to the urgencies for influenza-like illness were under 15 years of age, and almost 20% result in hospitalization.

Maintenance of measures of prevention

The Ministry of Health thus remains mobilized and the prevention campaign is relevant to try to limit the spread of the flu to the school. The directorate-general of Health (DGS) continues to call to adopt simple gestures, “gestures barriers” to limit the transmission of the disease. It is therefore essential that each person takes day-to-day actions of prevention, particularly in communities and in public transport where it is easily spread.

The actions of prevention of the spread of the virus

These “gestures barriers” are recalled by TV spots and radio emergency developed with public Health France in the event of a flu epidemic of great magnitude. The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) has been entered so that these messages of health prevention should be disseminated as widely as possible, according to the mechanism foreseen by the broadcasting law of 30th September 1986. There are 7 gestures barriers to adopt to protect themselves against viruses of winter :
• Procedure 1 : wash hands
• Gesture 2 : cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• Gesture 3 : to blow nose into a tissue, single-use
• Gesture 4 : avoid touching the face, especially the nose and the mouth
And when it is reached by the virus of the winter :
• Gesture 5 : to limit the outings, contact the doctor if needed
• Gesture 6 : to limit the direct contacts and indirect (via objects)
• Gesture 7 : wear a mask (especially when one is in contact with frail people)