There has recently been a fair amount of concern surrounding the outbreak of the Corona virus in China and the possible spread to South Africa.
So far as of today (18/2/2020) 71902 people have been infected and 1775 killed. Making the mortality rate around 2,5%.
Although this is quite concerning, there is a virus that infects and kills more people than the corona virus. This virus is known as the influenza virus, commonly referred to as flu. Annual influenza epidemics result in an estimated three to five million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000-650 000 deaths globally. In South Africa, influenza (commonly known as flu) kills between 6000-11,000 people every year flu.
The good news is that, contrary to the Corona virus, there is a vaccination that can protect you against flu!
Vaccination programs run from March. Vaccination is the most effective strategy to prevent influenza. Getting the flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, visits to the clinics or to doctors rooms, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Of note is that the vaccination will only protect you against flu and not any other viral upper respiratory tract infections.
Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for protective antibodies to develop, it is recommended that people get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure that they are protected before influenza season starts. The best time to get the flu vaccine is before the season starts (March-June) but getting it later will protect individuals during the rest of the season. Because influenza viruses are constantly changing and immunity from vaccine lasts for about a year, it is necessary to get vaccinated each year before the influenza season.
Don’t delay – get your flu vaccination in 2020!