Flu emergency measures drawn up
Pensioners are the worst affected by this year’s strain
A TOTAL of €1.36 million is being stumped up by the Valencia regional government to tackle emergency situations created by a flu epidemic.
The regional health department presented a contingency plan this week which will increase the number of hospital beds available by 541 if needed and bring in 132 additional staff.
The supply will see 238 available for Valencia province, 190 in Alicante and 48 in Castellón, with another 63 in ‘long-stay hospitals’.
A spokesman said that the measures had been drawn up to ‘face up to problems caused by the increase in pressure on the health service due to the spread of the epidemic in the coming weeks’.
This situation is likely to affect hospital wards and A&E departments, as well as local health centres, noted the spokesman.
The spokesman explained that the flu season had come early this year compared with previous episodes, with the health service recording the first wave of cases in the last week of December.
He noted that a high number of cases had been recorded in a short time around Spain, with other countries such as France and Britain also being ‘strongly affected’.
This year the virus which is hitting the whole of the northern hemisphere is the A (H3N2).
“This is a virus which usually affects elderly people more,” said the spokesman.
“As a result, schoolchildren have not really been falling ill.”
The spokesman explained that the flu jab which has been used this year incorporates A (H3N2). At the same time, he revealed that 97.18% of the people who have contracted the virus have not been inoculated.
He advised anyone over the age of 60 or with a chronic illness to go to their health centre for the jab.
“It is available at 1,235 centres around the region until the end of January,” he added.
There is still time to get the flu jab, according to the regional health department