Beijing [China], June 28 (ANI): China is witnessing a continuous increase in the positivity rate of influenza viruses dominated by the influenza A (H3N2) subtype, as the cases increase in some regions of Southern China, a local media reported citing a data released by Chinese National Influenza Center (CNIC).
As per the latest report of CNIC, the positive influenza infections in provincial regions in southern China have increased since May 9. It has increased to 30.1 per cent in mid-June which was reported at 2.8 per cent in early May, the Global Times reported.
According to the media report, due to the huge demand, influenza antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir are in short supply in many pharmacies in southern China.
Medical experts noted low exposure to respiratory pathogens affected by prevention and control measures against COVID-19 as the major factor for the outbreak of influenza.
According to Global Times, the Head of the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen, Lu Hongzhou said, "Frequent rainfalls and low temperatures this summer may have contributed to the abnormal influenza prevalence in southern China, while prevention and control measures against COVID-19 have reduced the public's exposure to respiratory pathogens, resulting in weakened herd immunity against influenza."
He added, "With the COVID-19 control measures being lifted overseas, it is also creating fertile ground for the resurgence of all kinds of diseases."
Lu further said that Guangdong Province registered more than 126,850 cases in the first six months of 2022, 10.38 times higher than in the first half of 2021.
"Of the total cases, there was one death. The positive infection rate in the second week of June was as high as 43.12 per cent. The H3N2 subtype is characterized by high epidemic intensity, high infection rate and rapid mutation frequency. The overall fatality rate of infection is about 0.2 per cent," Lu added.
Further, as per the CNIC report, among the 507 influenza outbreaks (above 10 cases) in 17 provinces between April 4 and June 19, 503 were in southern China, a sharp increase from the 136 in 2021 in the same period,Global Times reported.
Among the top three regions with the most influenza outbreaks, South China's Guangdong Province reported 119 cases, East China's Fujian Province reported 109 cases and South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region reported 79 cases, the weekly report showed.
Fujian provincial health commission noted that since June, the number of visitors to local fever clinics rose from 15,000 to 33,000.
Xiamen health commission in Fujian Province suggested paediatricians should not get involved with COVID-19-related work so as to better deal with the influenza high season among children, Global Times reported.
The expert suggested that the most effective solution to cope with influenza prevalence is vaccination as the COVID-19 is not over yet.
"The influenza vaccination rate in China is low over the years with the average nationwide rate at around 5 per cent. The rate among preschool children is around 12 per cent. The number in some Western countries could be as high as 70 per cent," the expert said. (ANI)