According to experts, the flu wave has not completely subsided, but it is a fact that the flu is going away and dangerous viruses are losing strength. On this occasion, we asked Dr. Krasimira Kinova, a specialist in infectious diseases, for a comment.
Dr. Kinova, is the flu going away now, have other infections decreased this season? What intensity of flu infections did you observe as a specialist
- In my opinion, the flu epidemic has not completely subsided yet. Since the weather is quite erratic, I guess viral diseases will continue to plague us until sometime in the middle and at the most end of March.
Whether it will be exactly flu, paraflu or another virus, I guess and hope that by the middle of the month they will subside. Of course, I am talking about isolated cases because we are not expecting some intense and large wave of viral diseases.
I think it is more important to talk about complications after the flu and other viral infections. Which are the most common for you? Have you had cases of severe complications - both in children and adults?
- Generally, the most severe are the inflammatory processes of the central nervous system, the so-called encephalitis. They more often develop after influenza than meningitis. This year we had more children with the so-called encephalopathy. This medical term means a more severe course of the viral infection, accompanied by cerebral edema. I immediately hasten to say that with the appropriate hospital medical treatment, we were able to control it without any residual and severe consequences for the patients.
This diagnosis always sounds scary to me, it's good that you manage to get it under control. Let people know this and not be afraid
- They should not be afraid. Let them know that the virus "loves" the brain, that's why such a clinical picture develops. But we have enough anti-edematous agents, antibiotics and immunostimulating preparations. And with their help, we manage to control this condition, without serious consequences.
And what are the manifestations? A rough start you say, but still a bit more detailed?
- Encephalopathy in children is manifested by a high temperature, which can reach 40 degrees. It is usually accompanied by a very severe headache, unresponsive to the usual antipyretics, and vomiting. Some children may have seizures. Some may occur
disorder in consciousness
and that's actually why I say it's dramatic and stormy. Because these signs usually lead parents to take their children to the GP and subsequently to a specialist. I want to say that there are also adults with this diagnosis - these are the contingent that has reduced immune protection of the body. In the presence of such signs, parents, patients seek medical help. From there, a consultation is made with us - the specialists in infectious diseases. This is required to assess whether it is possibly only encephalopathy, or additionally an inflammatory process of the nervous system. Next comes the process of treatment, of observation.
The important thing is that the forecast is good. Let me ask you one more thing: a mother called the newsroom to ask what this new virus was that caused pneumonia on the second day. Is there such a thing, or is this claim rather far-fetched?
- There is no such virus, at least I haven't heard of it. There are so-called respiratory sensitial viruses, which do not pass through the throat by an air-droplet mechanism, but directly affect the lungs in the form of bronchitis, tracheitis as well. Maybe that's what this young mother had in mind. Like I said, the lung is where these viruses land.
Last: what infections await us in the spring? What should the parents, and even the older ones, have in mind from now on?
- The standard spring-summer viral infections await us, the so-called enteroviruses. Accordingly, they will gradually take the place of the winter ones. But these diseases also depend on a number of factors: both the climatic conditions and our immune system. We face them every year, sometimes with more, sometimes with fewer cases. Sometimes in the form of an epidemic, other times as isolated cases.
In this spring season
smallpox viruses also appear, usually in children who have not had the disease. As with those whose mothers get carried away by the new fashion trend - they don't want to immunize their children and they get sick accordingly.
I think we should not stop repeating how important immunizations are. You say measles are mostly spring infections too - right?
- Yes, it is about chicken pox, scarlet fever. Scarlet fever goes all year round, but it is also characteristic of the spring season. Rubella also, which is now less common, mumps (mumps). It is characteristic of them that epidemic waves occur at a certain period of years.
In the 21st century, exoticism seems to impose itself and rule. In a sense, diseases that were supposedly extinct are returning - as happened with measles. Let's hope that the good will accompany us more.
Isn't there a mandatory vaccine for smallpox?
- For measles, rubella, mumps - there is. There is no chicken pox in Bulgaria, it is simply not imported. This vaccine is used in the USA, but there is no particular interest in it in our country. There are vaccines for other diseases. And as a summary, I can say that there were no surprises this season, we are accompanied by the standard viral infections. Here I should note that many viral infections are non-specific with rashes, so a differential diagnosis is usually made for smallpox viruses. This is in general terms. Ticks will appear soon…