Doctors expect “regular” flu

An epidemic of flu and respiratory viral infection has begun in Belarus. The epidemic has been officially announced in Maladzechna and Homel. It is expected to last for at least 1.5 months.

Last year’s flu epidemic was hardly noticed but this year doctors are expecting an increase in the number of patients.

An epidemic can be announced in a city if the norm is exceeded trice or more during three days.

Monitoring is being conducted in 18 Belarusian cities. Minsk and all regional and big district centres are among them.

According to last week’s monitoring, 47% of children and 53% of adults have already caught flu in these cities.

According to the head epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health Anatol Kazhamyakіn, respiratory viral infection rate has been increasing by 7-13% for the last four weeks. Anatol Kazhamyakіn informs:

“The infection rate has already been exceeding the epidemic threshold during three days only in Maladzecha and Homel. An epidemic has been announced in these cities. The situation will be worsening.

The infection rate exceeded the epidemic threshold in 11 cities on Monday. But it does not mean an epidemic has been announced in all of them.

Still, there are some candidates for it. First of all it is Mazyr and Rechytsa in Homel Region and Barysau in Minsk Region. The infection rate is also increasing in Minsk. A high infection rate has also been registered in Mahileu and Babruisk. Everything will become clear within the next few days”.

A Maladzechna ERB reporter Zmіtser Panyamonau describes the situation:

“Almost 1716 people have fallen ill, 1378 of them are children. Several schools where more than 30% of pupils have caught flu have been closed for a week — those are schools #9 and #14 in Maladzechna and the school at Palachany.

According to the deputy head physician of the Centre of hygiene and epidemiology Lyudmіla Yarmachenka, the epidemic will reach its peak on March 8-10. Then the infection rate will reach the number of 3000 people per week”.

An epidemic may soon start in Baranavichy. The epidemic threshold has been increased by 2.9 times there. An epidemiologist from Baranavichy Centre of hygiene epidemiology Tatstsyana Afonіk informed about it.

She added that more than 1500 cases of respiratory viral infection and 31 case of flu were registered last week.

About 800 people from the risk group have been vaccinated against flu this year. Epidemiologists are not expecting any new viruses. Anatol Kazhamyakіn says:

“The epidemic will last for about 6 weeks. But, taking into account the fact that last year’s epidemic was one of the weakest for the last 15 years we should expect a greater infection rate this year.

Nevertheless, it will match the mean value. We are not expecting any exotic viruses either. We are expecting regular flu”.

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