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Cyprus not expecting flu surge

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Cyprus does not expect to face a big surge of type A flu cases this year, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Cyprus Maria Koliou told CNA.

Koliou, member of the government advisory team on Covid-19, urged people and vulnerable groups to be vaccinated against type A flu as a combination with coronavirus could be lethal.

She said that seasonal influenza may prove to be very mild this year, due to the preventive measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Evidence from a number of countries in the southern hemisphere is encouraging and indicate that the wave of flu “will not be particularly big”.

If influenza and the coronavirus are contracted by the same person “then things will be more serious for the patient.”

“We do not want both viruses to coexist in a patient because they will contribute to creating problems for the patient,” Koliou said.

“This is one more reason why people should be vaccinated against the flu this year; at least vulnerable groups according to Ministry of Health recommendations.”

So far this year there have been no cases of type A flu in Cyprus, she said.

Seasonal outbreaks of type A flu start every year either at the end of December or beginning of January.

“The only exception to this in the past 9 years was in December of 2018 when there was a bad outbreak which started in mid-December.”

Asked whether the number of flu cases will be greater during the coronavirus pandemic, she said possibly not due to the preventive measures taken.

“Wearing a mask and observing social distancing, open windows and well-ventilated spaces, all steps required to contain the coronavirus will also protect from Type A flu.”

“Therefore, it is reasonable for us not to expect a big or excessive surge of type A flue unless something unexpected happens like in 2018.”