Influenza epidemic takes early hold

Photo: Caitlin O'Neil-McKeown
Photo: Caitlin O’Neil-McKeown

The annual flu outbreak has started early in France, as it did last year, according to IRSAN, the French research institute.

Ile-de-France has already witnessed an epidemic, with a sudden surge in cases, while eight out of 12 metropolitan regions are in the pre-epidemic phase, according to the latest weekly bulletin on influenza published by Agence Publique France.

So far, the south-east of France has escaped the worst of the virus, but acute gastroenteritis has reached epidemic proportions in the Grand-Est and PACA regions.

In 2015-2016, the epidemic peaked later, in March-April. Public Health France has issued a reminder that vaccination is the best way to protect against flu and its complications, but protection occurs only from 15 days after vaccination.

In Monaco, the 2017-2018 vaccine, which requires a medical prescription but is reimbursed 100 percent to those insured by the Monaco health service, has been available in pharmacies since October and offers protection for 12 months.

Side effects – such as sensitivity to the injection site and minimal flu-like reaction – are rare and not serious, usually disappearing in one to two days.


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