Guangdong preps for heightened flu spread

By ZHENG CAIXIONG Updated: March 13, 2023

The Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging residents to take effective measures against influenza A as the last COVID-19 wave in the province has basically ended.

"The COVID-19 situation is now sporadic, but the province has entered into the peak period of the seasonal flu, and effective and concrete measures should be introduced to prevent the spread of the flu in the province in the months to come," the center said in a statement released on Saturday.

The level of influenza A activity in Guangdong has increased, mainly subtype A (H1N1) pdm09, accompanied by subtype A (H3N2) and other epidemics since late Feb.

The number of outpatient and emergency visits may soar and the risk of cluster outbreaks in some units, including schools and nurseries, may increase in the coming weeks.

Guo Ronghui, director of pediatrics with Clifford Hospital, said influenza A and B are seasonal epidemics in Guangdong province and influenza A is highly contagious.

"Guangdong usually has a high incidence of influenza from November to July," Guo said.

"Many people catch the flu when bacteria and viruses are active in winter and spring and local students have gone back to their schools," he said.

Deng Wen, a senior doctor with the Emergency Department of Guangdong Provincial Maternal and Child Health Hospital, said more children have visited his department and the hospital fever clinic since late February, especially in the last week.

The emergency department and fever clinics usually received dozens of fever patients a day before mid-February, he said.

"But now the number of children who visit the hospital's emergency department and fever clinic has soared to between 200 and 300 daily since last week."

In addition to paying special attention to personal hygiene, experts urged locals to get vaccinated.

Vaccination is the "first choice for cost performance" against influenza, they said.