Flu rises in Guangdong, especially among children

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou chinadaily.com.cn Updated: April 7, 2023

The number of patients at fever clinics in hospitals across Guangdong province has increased steadily since March, as the province is still in peak season for influenza, according to the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Chen Jianfeng, a pediatrician at Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University, the number of fever patients has doubled since last year in just the past two weeks. Children are most often infected with influenza A.

"It will take about one to two weeks for the trend of influenza A to slow down," Chen said.

Some schools and kindergartens in several places in Guangdong have been suspended due to the spread of the flu.

Chen attributed the increase in infections partly to humid and rainy weather, which has been plaguing Guangdong for more than two weeks.

"Additionally, the flu may spread from other areas, following the recent increase in population from the northern to the southern part of the country," Chen said.

High air humidity, together with large temperature differences from morning to evening, create conditions conducive to the spread of the flu, according to Li Shuhua, director of the pediatric and fever clinic of Guangzhou Women and Children Medical Center.

Li said the number of fever patients coming to the pediatric department of the hospital has been increasing since late February, with cases that are positive for influenza A accounting for about 40 percent of the total.

"Most flu patients are children over 5 years old, as the population mobility and gathering activities increased in schools after the start of the new semester," she said.

According to Kang Min, director of the infectious disease prevention and control institute of the Guangdong Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu usually spreads seasonally, with spikes in winter, spring and summer.

"Currently, getting vaccinated against influenza is one of the most effective measures to prevent being infected," Kang said.

The center has announced locations for flu vaccinations in its 11 districts, and called on local citizens to get them.