INFLUENZA that claimed lives of 20 infants brought under control
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne claiming that the influenza which had claimed lives of nearly 20 infants in the south and elsewhere, was now being brought under control, added that the influenza virus changed rapidly and therefore the same vaccine could not be used to control the disease all the time.
The influenza fever has been controlled and it is not spreading as reported by certain media
Therefore, the reluctance of doctors to inject anti – influenza vaccine on patients is understandable, Dr. Senaratne said.
“The influenza fever has been controlled and it is not spreading as reported by certain media. You must not count deaths occurred from other diseases as influenza deaths,” he told reporters.
Seasonal influenza viruses circulate and cause diseases every year. In Sri Lanka, in the past few years, it has been generally observed during April to June and again in November to January. It spreads from person-to-person through sneezing, coughing, or touching contaminated surfaces. Seasonal influenza viruses can cause mild to severe illness and even death, particularly in some high-risk individuals.
Persons at increased risk for severe disease include pregnant women, the very young and very old, immune-compromised people, and people with chronic underlying medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes mellitus and heart diseases. Seasonal influenza viruses evolve continuously, which means that people can get infected multiple times throughout their lives. Therefore the components of seasonal influenza vaccines are generally reviewed bi-annually and updated periodically to ensure continued effectiveness of the vaccines. Recently, the National Drug Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka has given licence for the use of seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine.