Thursday, 13 Dec 2018

The flu has caused an excess mortality estimated at 13,000 deaths during the winter of 2017-2018

The excess mortality observed by the public body Public Health France mainly affects people over 65 years.

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The excess mortality observed by the public body Public Health France mainly affects people over 65 years.

Public health la France , the new name of the Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS), has just announced the end of the flu epidemic in France. The organization announces this year 13,000 deaths related to the flu. However, although this figure may look high, it remains lower than that of last year, where 14,348 people died from the flu.

According to estimates by Public Health France, 93% of the deaths concerned people aged 65 and over. Two peaks of mortality were observed this year: the first between 1 st and January 7 and the second between March 5 and 11.

  • How are these figures calculated?

For calculate these figures, the organization evaluates the number of deaths in a sample of 3,000 communes representing 80% of the population and extrapolates it on the whole of the population French. It then calculates the number of additional deaths to what was expected through statistical data. However, since influenza does not represent the totality of additional deaths, Public Health France estimates a proportion that is linked to influenza.

Influenza virus-related mortality varies significantly between years, depending on the virulence of the virus and the protection afforded by vaccination. For example, the 2015-2016 season had a very slow season. One of the reasons for this is that the influenza virus is constantly mutating and that some strains are particularly dangerous: the body is little or not prepared for a new and more deadly virus, and the vaccine is less suitable .

During’ history some strains of the flu have caused millions of deaths. The famous Spanish flu reportedly left 200,000 dead in France in 1918-19, and, according to the latest estimates, up to 100 million died in France. the world – much more than the world conflict that preceded it. Closer to us, the flu of ‘ Hong Kong “Caused the death of about 32,000 people in France in 1968-1969. Today, pandemics come back regularly, but medical coverage and the possibility of make vaccinate better protect the population.

  • A variable incidence rate but lower than in the 1980s

The incidence of Influenza virus, which causes seasonal influenza, appears to be decrease slightly since 1984, when the Sentinels network in France began to study the epidemiology of influenza. It is calculated using the “incidence rate”, a statistical data that makes it possible to calculate the number of people who consult a doctor for an ILI, reduced to 100,000 inhabitants.

The vaccine started to be reimbursed by Medicare to people over 75 in 1985. This age has gradually decreased: today, the vaccine is fully reimbursed for people over 65 years, in which the risk of complications related to seasonal flu is higher. However, the level of immunization coverage of the population over 65 has been decreasing in recent years: from 65% coverage in 2000, this rate rose to 50.8 in 2015, according to the OECD.

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