NICD: SA flu spike likely due to relaxation of COVID measures, reduced immunity

The NICD said that there'd been a high number of cases since the start of the month - these include the influenza-like illness and pneumonia hospitalised cases at surveillance sentinel sites.

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CAPE TOWN - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that there'd been a sharp increase in influenza cases over the past few weeks in South Africa.

The NICD said that there'd been a high number of cases since the start of the month - these include the influenza-like illness and pneumonia hospitalised cases at surveillance sentinel sites.

It added that there'd been reports of clusters of influenza cases in schools and workplaces.

The NICD's Cheryl Cohen: "The increase in influenza this summer, which is not the typical time for the influenza season in South Africa, is likely the result of the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions to control COVID-19 combined with other factors such as reduced immunity because flu has not circulated since 2020 and 2021."

She stressed that the influenza vaccine remained the primary means for preventing seasonal influenza infection and should ideally be administered before the influenza season from March to April.

"To prevent the spread of influenza, stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, clean your hands regularly and clean and disinfect common places."