EghtesadOnline: New concern comes after an earlier-than-expected flu season caught the healthcare system off-guard in autumn, causing patients to struggle to find medication prescribed by physicians.
Iran needs to prepare for the approaching second wave of flu cases following the passage of the first peak, head of the Health Ministry’s Center for Infectious Disease Control, Shahnam Arshi, stated on Sunday.
“The second wave usually occurs with lower intensity in February and March,” the health official was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Arshi’s concern comes after an earlier-than-expected flu season caught the healthcare system off-guard in autumn, causing patients to struggle to find medication prescribed by physicians.
The shortage in medicine has been partly linked to the sudden drop in facemask wearing as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed. With less people following social distancing rules and observing safety measures, influenza infections have made a comeback after two years.
“Considering that we’re passing the first peak and cases are currently on the decline, it’s vital to prepare for the second wave in February,” Arshi said.
He advised the public to wear facemasks in enclosed spaces, frequently wash hands, install proper ventilation, and get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.
He addressed a common misbelief among the general public by pointing out that vaccination for the respiratory disease could be carried out in time periods other than early autumn.
Patients with pre-existing health conditions, pregnant women, the elderly and children are prioritized groups to receive the annual flu shot.
Flu Down by 25-30%
Deputy Health Minister Hossein Farshidi also said on Sunday that influenza patients had dropped by 25-30% in the past two weeks.
“The status of our hospital beds are indicative of that,” Farshidi added.
On the latest status of the Covid-19 pandemic, the official said only one patient had lost their life to the contagion over the past week.
“When we look at the data like this, it seems like Covid has ended. But we need to take a look around,” Farshidi said.
The official was referring to the surge in Covid cases in Japan, where over 600,000 cases had been reported only in the last week.
The spike has also been observed in other parts of Asia as well as Europe.
Farshidi said, “The death rate has increased in countries such as Britain, Spain and the United States and it now stands at over 150 a week.”
Taking into account the new outbreaks in other nations, Farshidi warned that Iran needed to exercise extreme caution to keep transmission rates down.