A massive flu epidemic has spread across Turkey, with the Turkish Health Ministry announcing that one in three people is suffering from the disease in the country amid a drop in temperatures.
The ministry analyzed patient samples that it obtained from a total of 180 family doctors in 17 provinces between Dec. 19 and 25, 2016, detecting flu in 34.6 percent of the samples, daily Habertürk reported on Jan. 6.
The samples were analyzed in seven different laboratories in Istanbul, the Black Sea
province of Samsun, the eastern province of Erzurum, the southern province of Adana and the western province of İzmir.
In the 1,202 samples that were taken in 2016, only 8.4 percent tested positive for flu.
Influenza A (H3N2) was detected in 87 percent of all the samples, Influenza B was detected in 12 percent of the samples and Influenza A was detected in 2 percent of the samples.
A total of 47 of the 136 samples that were taken between Dec. 19 and 25, 2016, were determined to contain the flu. Some 40 percent of the samples had influenza A (H3N2), while 7 percent of them had influenza B. The latest findings suggest that the numbers peaked in the samples taken most recently.
“We are now going through a usual process. Because the weather got cold early this year, the maximum number of flu cases will also be earlier,” Professor Mehmet Ceylan told daily Habertürk.
“We’ll continue to see the virus until the spring. People in risk groups should definitely be vaccinated. The time doesn’t matter. The vaccination protects a person for six months. The virus types that were detected until now are the ones that can be prevented by vaccination,” he said.
During his interview, Ceylan stressed the significance of washing hands four or five times a day with ample soap and water in preventing the flu.
Meanwhile, Istanbul’s emergency services are nearly full due to the flu epidemic. Emergency services at state and private hospitals in Istanbul were left strained by the large numbers of locals seeking medical assistance due to flu symptoms.
Infection Disease Specialist Dr. Okan Derin encouraged people to take precautions against the epidemic, urging them to take care of their hygiene, Doğan News Agency reported.
“Flu opens the door to diseases that can be life-threatening,” he said, noting that infection can spread with sneezing and coughing. “The virus shortly spreads to all cells via the respiratory tracts. The virus causes chills, shaking, fever, weakness and myogenic pain. Hygiene is very important in protecting against the epidemic.”