What is 'twindemic'? Flu is back in Europe even as it fights Covid

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jan 17, 2022, 10:56 PM(IST)

Flu is back in Europe even as it fights Covid Photograph:( AFP )

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Last winter, it was believed that Covid had temporarily eradicated the flu, a virus that globally kills about 650,000 a year

Raising concerns of a "twindemic," Influenza has returned to Europe amid a surge in Covid cases. A situation like this could put excessive pressure on the already exhausted healthcare systems. 

Last winter, it was believed that Covid had temporarily eradicated the flu, a virus that globally kills about 650,000 a year. 
However, this notion was changed late last year when flu viruses started circulating in Europe at a 'higher-than-expected rate.'

According to the data released by the European centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in December, the number of flu cases in the intensive care units surged as there were at least 43 cases in the last week of the year. 

ECDC’s top expert on influenza Pasi Penttinen said, "If we start to lift all measures, the big concern I have for influenza is that, because we have had such a long time of almost no circulation in the European population, maybe we will shift away from normal seasonal patterns."

Also read | China records two-year high in Covid cases weeks before Winter Olympics

As per the data published by the French health ministry, three regions in France, including Paris, are facing a flu epidemic. Franc culled 600,000 to 650,000 chickens, ducks and other poultry, officials revealed. 

This comes at a time when Europe is already struggling to battle the Omicron variant of coronavirus. Recently, the World Health Organization said that in the next two months, over half of the people in Europe are on track to contract the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

According to Hans Kluge, regional director for WHO's European office, "At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) forecasts that more than 50 per cent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks."

Many European countries are also suffering from immediate staff shortages in essential services as Omicron drives a surge in positive tests.

(With inputs from agencies)

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