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Thursday 29 September 2022
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Flu epidemic intensifies in south-east, Ile-de-France and Brittany

Hospitalisations were up 31% last week, as France’s public health authority reported that vaccination coverage amid priority groups appears to be insufficient

An image of a pile of tissues and a medicine bottle sitting at a sick person's feet

Flu cases are on the rise in several French regions Pic: Tero Vasalainen / Shutterstock

Flu infection numbers rose last week in several French regions, including Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Corsica, Ile-de-France and Brittany. 

The information is shown in Santé publique France’s latest update on how flu infections were affecting doctor’s surgeries and hospitals across the country. 

It found that flu cases were, however, declining in Central-Val de Loire and Hauts-de-France and stable in the other regions. 

Occitanie, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes are at the height of their local flu epidemics, while most other regions are in a pre-epidemic phase and Ile-de-France has reached a post-epidemic stage.

Across the country, the number of people going to emergency departments with flu symptoms was up by 20% in the week leading up to February 9, when compared to the previous seven day period, while the number of people being admitted to hospital had risen by 31%.

Young are especially affected
Hospitalisations are most common among children under 15 years of age, and especially the under-fives. 

During the winter of 2021, Covid-related lockdowns and restrictions meant that people were mixing less, hindering the spread of the flu virus and meaning that this year, there exists a lower level of collective immunity, making people more susceptible to catching it.

“Any relaxation of the Covid health measures which takes place as we come out of the fifth wave could translate into an intensification of flu circulation,” Santé publique stated in its report. 

It is therefore “difficult to anticipate with certainty the trajectory that flu virus spread will take in the coming weeks.” 

Santé publique also noted that: “The first estimations of vaccination uptake carried out on November 30 indicated an insufficient coverage, both among vulnerable people and among health professionals. 

“With this in mind, it is important to remember that the systematic adoption of barrier gestures and of the flu vaccine are effective ways of protecting yourself.” 

In contrast to the flu, France’s bronchiolitis epidemic is now coming to an end – or has already ended – across the country.

Related stories 

Winter flu reaches pre-epidemic levels in southeast France and Corsica

France Covid: ‘The worst is behind us,’ says health minister

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