According to the first estimates of Public Health France, on February 8, 2018, the number of deaths attributable to influenza (excess mortality) is estimated at 4,750. This figure is significantly higher than in the previous week, but in sharp decline by compared to last year. The epidemic is also declining in metropolitan France, while it is growing in Guyana and the West Indies.
In the last epidemiological bulletin of the Sentinelles network of February 8, 2018, which relates to the follow-up of the epidemic the last week of January, in metropolitan France, the frequency of influenza syndromes seen in general medical consultation decreased to 242 cases per 100,000 159,000 new cases.
The network Sentinelles notes a decline in the epidemic in metropolitan France over the last 5 weeks and the ebb of the epidemic is well underway. There was no increase in the incidence of influenza-like illness among young people under 15 years of age.
Some regions still very affected
All the metropolitan regions are still in the epidemic phase, but the regression sets in, unlike the West Indies and French Guiana, where there is a further increase in influenza activity.
The incidence of influenza remains high, especially in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (509 cases per 100 000 inhabitants), Corsica (446 cases per 100 000 inhabitants), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Grand-Est (351 cases for 100,000 inhabitants in both regions). The share of hospitalizations in total influenza illness is stable at 0.4%.
Hospitalizations especially in young children and after 65 years
According to the Oscour network, 4496 emergency room visits were recorded for flu or influenza-like illness, resulting in 500 hospitalizations (11%). These numbers are down from last week. Since the start of the epidemic, emergency room visits for influenza-like illness have been particularly prevalent for under-5s (34%) and 15-44s (26%).
Influenza hospitalizations mainly concern children under 5 years of age (23%) and people aged 65 and over (49%). Seventy-three serious cases were admitted to intensive care last week, a number that has been declining since 1st November (1623 cases in total). Of these, 214 died and the majority were over 65 (119) and 4 were under 5 years of age.
A number of deaths that will be lower than in 2016-2017
Since the start of the influenza epidemic, the number of deaths attributable to influenza (excess mortality) has been estimated at 4,750 by Public Health France. This figure is significantly higher than the previous week (2,850), but down from last year when it was estimated at 14,400. The excess of all-cause mortality is estimated at 6,400 deaths during the period of the epidemic (+ 9%), because in this case the figure takes into account the excess mortality related to the numerous influenza-related illnesses among the people affected (this figure was 21,200 in 2015-2016).
Just like last week, 90% of all deaths occurred in people 65 years of age and over, although there were a number of deaths among very young children, as they do every year.
Increase in the share of type B viruses
This epidemic 2017-2018 is still characterized by a clear prevalence of type A virus with 66% of cases (54% of A (H1N1)), but the share of B viruses has increased to 34%. This proportion is reversed in Europe.
Since the A (H1N1) virus is a poorly known strain of the immune system of young people, it affects them more particularly: the average age of the patients is now 24 years and hospitalizations are mostly for the underprivileged. 5 years (23%).
Necessary maintenance of preventive measures
The Ministry of Health remains mobilized and the prevention campaign remains relevant, especially in schools, to try to limit the spread of influenza, especially during this cold and snowy period.
The General Directorate of Health (DGS) continues to call for simple actions, the "gestures barriers" to limit the transmission of the disease. It is therefore essential that everyone adopts everyday preventive actions, especially in communities and public transport where it is easily transmitted.
Actions to prevent the spread of the virus
These "barrier gestures" are recalled by TV spots and emergency radio developed with Public Health France in the event of a large-scale influenza epidemic. The Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) was seized so that these messages of prevention health are diffused as much as possible, according to the device envisaged by the audiovisual law of September 30, 1986. There are 7 gestures barriers to adopt to protect themselves against the viruses of winter:
• Gesture 1: Wash your hands
• Gesture 2: Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• Gesture 3: Blow your nose in a disposable tissue
• Gesture 4: avoid touching your face, especially the nose and mouth
And when we are infected with winter viruses:
• Gesture 5: limit exits, contact the doctor if necessary
• Gesture 6: Limit direct and indirect contacts (via objects)
• Gesture 7: wear a mask (especially when in contact with fragile people)