Why the swine flu circulation is no cause for panic

Although there have been some cases and deaths related to the swine flu virus in Cape Town and Durban this season, the public need not be alarmed according to infectious disease specialist, Dr. Marc Mendelson.

In the thick of the flu season (between May and August) the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) has confirmed the two major strains of influenza circulating in South Africa; the swine flu virus (H1N1) and the H2N3 virus.

Mendelson verified that the H1N1 virus has resulted in fatalities this season; however, he says that it is to be expected as influenza causes fatal complications each year.

Yes, there have been deaths from Swine flu (H1N1) in the Western Cape. But one needs to put this into perspective. It is, unfortunately, part of the norm in flu season for people to die of influenza.

Dr Marc Mendelson, Infectious Disease Specialist

According to Mendelson, 9 000 people are estimated to die on average from influenza each year in South Africa.

(Also read our article: 4 people most vulnerable to flu complications and why they should vaccinate)

He says that the vast majority of those who contract influenza will have the mild illness, and a small percentage of people often those with will suffer from severe disease and complications. Mendelson advises the public to vaccinate.

Listen to the full conversation on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

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