Specialists emphasize that children, elderly and chronically ill should be vaccinated. Infectologists point out that the influenza vaccine should always be available.
Influenza is a viral disease that mainly affects the nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs, an infection that lasts about a week and is characterized by high fever, muscle aches, headache, cough, sore throat and rhinitis.
This disease, according to infectologists, can spread and become an epidemic due to the form of infection, since it is transmitted through drops of saliva that are expelled by people who have the virus.
In El Salvador, both this year and in 2018 they circulated three types of strain A, H1N1, H3N2 and one not subtyped). In the case of influenza type A (H1N1) there were 115 cases in 2018, while for 2019 166 were confirmed until November 23.
Iván Solano Leiva, vice president of the Central American and Caribbean Association of Infectology, indicates that in the country, according to a study of the Global Influenza Initiative, which was carried out between 2007 and 2012, as part of the intertropical region, there are two peaks of the disease: one in July, where influenza activity is strongest; and another in February, therefore it would be advisable to vaccinate the population in June and January.
“Everyone over six months of age, regardless of whether we are healthy or have chronic diseases, should get vaccinated against influenza. At the public level, the Ministry of Health vaccinates only those under five, older adults, people aged 18 to 59 with chronic and pregnant illnesses; but that does not mean that others cannot be vaccinated, but that it would have to be in the private system, ”explains Solano Leiva.
According to information from the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization (WHO / PAHO), most people who suffer from influenza recover within a week or two without needing to receive medical treatment; However, in young children, older adults and people with chronic diseases, the infection can be complicated and lead to pneumonia or death.
Gustavo Lazo, an infectologist of Costa Rican origin, states that influenza is a genetically unstable virus and for this reason, health institutions must carry out annual vaccination strategies against the disease and for the different types of influenza that exist.
“This is a virus that has a seasonally complicated behavior, especially for the intertropical region and vaccination is one of the best prevention strategies for this virus,” says the doctor.
He explains that people usually don’t make a difference between a common flu and the flu, and expect the vaccine to prevent them from getting both diseases, which is false.
Influenza there are four types called by the first letters of the alphabet (A, B, C and D), the first two suffer mutations and replicate very quickly, which makes the viruses that are born each year have different characteristics and deceive the system of defenses of the organism and can cause pandemics, epidemics or seasonal outbreaks every year.
“The vaccine that the Ministry of Health puts for the month of May, does not put it in the rest of the year, is a viral triple, which contains two strains of influenza A virus, which is AH1N1 and AH3N2 and a strain of type B influenza virus, at least for this year, ”says Iván Solano Leiva.
While the one that is put on a private level is original, it is not Korean like that of the Ministry of Health, and covers against four influenza viruses, two type A and two type B strains, he said.
Solano Leiva believes that there should be no vaccination in the country for only one period in May, but should be available for risk groups, such as older adults, children and chronically ill people.
“Vaccination in adults is extremely low. Vaccination coverage in 2018 in adults against influenza was only 27%, there is a serious deficit of vaccination coverage that the Ministry of Health should seek to have better coverage and should improve for the elderly and for people with diseases chronicles, ”says Solano.
According to data from the infectologist Gustavo Lazo, influenza affects 15% of the world’s population, where it causes 3 to 5 million cases of severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and can cause death, as they die every year 291,000 to 646,000 people from influenza around the world.
In the months in which the disease occurs, says Lazo, it also affects up to 40% of the world’s pediatric population.
In the case of adults, people can disseminate the disease for three to five days, while children can transmit it for five to seven days in the months where the disease is occurring, the most affected are children In school age and one in every 100 children will need hospitalization, according to world figures.
“The goal of influenza vaccination is to avoid hospitalizations, because they will have a common flu; but influenza is another disease, therefore it is important to avoid reaching the severity of the disease and hospitalization, ”emphasizes Lazo.