Flu emer­gency mea­sures drawn up

Pen­sion­ers are the worst af­fected by this year’s strain

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Dave Jones djones@cb­news.es

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

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