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Cyprus not expected to face big surge of type A flu cases this year, expert says

Cyprus is not expected to face a big surge of type A flu cases this year, Assistant Professor of Paediatrics and Infectious Diseases at the University of Cyprus Medical School and Chairwoman of the Special Committee of the Pancyprian Medical Association dealing with the coronavirus, Maria Koliou, has told CNA.

Koliou who is also a member of the advisory team of experts on Covid-19, urged people and particularly vulnerable people to be vaccinated against type A flu because, if the same person happens to be infected with both type A flu and the coronavirus then he will be faced with more difficulties.

Asked whether so far this year there have been many cases of type A flu in Cyprus, Koliou said that seasonal influenza may prove to be very mild this year, due to the preventive measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

She explained that evidence from a number of countries in the southern hemisphere available to Cyprus are encouraging and indicate that the wave of flu “will not be particularly big, likely because of measures taken to deal with the coronavirus.”

However, she noted, if type A flu and the coronavirus are contracted by the same person “then things will be more serious for the patient.”

“We do not want both viruses to coexist in a patient because they will contribute in creating problems for the patient,” she said, adding that “this is therefore one more reason why people should be vaccinated against the flu this year; at least vulnerable groups according to Ministry of Health recommendations.”

So far this year there have been no cases of type A flu in Cyprus, she said.

Koliou also explained that seasonal outbreak of type A flu starts every year either end of December or beginning of January, adding that “the only exception to this in the past 9 years was in December of 2018 when there was a bad outbreak which started in mid-December.”

Asked whether the number of flu cases will be greater during the coronavirus pandemic, she said that possibly not due to the preventive measures taken.

Wearing a mask and observing social distancing, open windows and well-ventilated spaces, all steps required to contain the coronavirus will also protect from Type A flu, she explained, adding that they are “both respiratory diseases and therefore prevention is similar.”

“Therefore, it is reasonable for us not to expect a big or excessive surge of type A flue unless something unexpected happens like in 2018,” she said.

(CNA)

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