The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has reported a significant surge in seasonal influenza cases, with over 970,000 individuals affected this year. This figure is three times higher than the corresponding period for the previous year.
According to DDC Deputy Director-General Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn, one fatality has so far been reported – a 39-year-old man with a history of alcoholism and liver disease. Individuals at higher risk of severe illness, including those over the age of 65 and individuals with chronic diseases, should get promptly vaccinated against influenza. Those contracting the flu are advised to isolate themselves and wear face masks.
While the number of cases has tripled, the prevailing strain remains H1N1, which has persisted in Thailand for about 14 years.
Dr Sopon pointed out that this strain is generally characterized by low virulence. He also dismissed unsubstantiated rumors suggesting that individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 or have been vaccinated might experience severe influenza symptoms upon infection.
Seasonal influenza symptoms include fever, coughs, headaches, muscle and joint pain, severe fatigue, sore throat, and a runny nose, as outlined by the World Health Organization. Coughs can be persistent and last for two weeks or more, with most people recuperating within a week without needing medical intervention.
Although influenza typically resolves without severe consequences, it can lead to severe illness or death, particularly among individuals in risk groups.