71% fall in influenza cases in Oman

December 03, 2018

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Oman has registered a huge 70.7 per cent fall in influenza cases in the July-September period of 2018 compared to the same period of last year.

“From July to September this year, 291 influenza cases were recorded compared to 992 in the same period of the last season,” the Ministry of Health (MoH) has said. The ministry said that overall Oman recorded ‏2,726 cases from July 2017 to July 2018 leading to medical complications and deaths.

MoH said that as Oman is one of the semi-tropical countries, the seasonal flu viruses appear throughout the year. “However, the viruses become more active early in September and this continues until the mid of May, maximum two times a year.”

MoH said that after two days of exposure to the virus, the flu-infected person may feel some or all the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or blocked nose, body and muscle ache, tiredness (feeling unwell) and vomiting and diarrhoea among some people, especially children. The condition of some patients may worsen and lead to death.

“The flu infection is spread through cough or sneeze. In some cases, the infection may occur by touching surfaces or objects contaminated by influenza infection then followed by touching eyes or mouth or nose,” MoH said. “The infection can be transmitted before one day of symptoms and approximately five to seven days after the symptoms. The duration of infection transmission may last for a long period among children as well as people with immune deficiency.”

Treatment of influenza requires drinking a lot of water, rest and taking anti-viral medicines that reduce serious complications and deaths, especially for high-risk groups.

‏To prevent the disease, preventive measures such as covering mouth and nose when coughing and washing hands regularly are a must. “Seasonal vaccine is recommended for people at the higher risk of serious influenza complications, including healthcare workers and women at any stage of pregnancy. It also includes the elderly, patients with chronic medical conditions (such as patients with HIV/AIDS, respiratory diseases, heart diseases, disorders of kidneys and liver, neurological and metabolic disorders like diabetes and those who are taking immunosuppressive drugs), as well as pilgrims,” the ministry added.