Winter is here and with it, the ailments that accompany it: acute respiratory infections, flu and associated complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. More than 17,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and influenza were officially recorded in the public service during the month of May.

According to figures compiled by the Ministry of Health from April 29 to May 26, more than 17,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and influenza were officially recorded in the island's various hospitals. Among them, several cases of bronchitis, which is a bacterial superinfection linked to the flu, explains Dr Fazil Khodabocus. Many patients had to be hospitalized for this, he says.

If the more than 17,000 cases recorded in four weeks are far from what the situation was last year, when more than 12,000 cases were recorded in just two weeks, it is expected that there will be a worsening of the situation in the coming weeks, according to Dr. Khodabocus.

Indeed, with the recurring anticyclones, characteristic of winter, generating icy winds and a drop in temperature, it is more than wise to take precautions to avoid catching a cold and contracting a viral infection. The cool and dry climate is conducive to the circulation of influenza viruses (AH1N1, AH3N2 and B), as well as other viruses such as adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and Covid-19, recalls the Dr Fazil Khodabocus, public health physician.

With almost similar symptoms for these different illnesses, such as fever, body aches, cough and runny nose, it is recommended to consult a doctor in order to get the appropriate treatments, he emphasizes. It also highlights that the flu is highly contagious and it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. It is also advisable to rest to recover better and not to contaminate those around you.

Dr. Khodabocus adds that the most vulnerable people can develop flu-related complications, such as bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections and, most seriously, pneumonia. Thus, those who suffer from cancer, cardiovascular diseases or asthma must be particularly careful, he points out.

No deaths have been recorded so far, but the flu can be fatal, says the World Health Organization. The disease causes 290,000 to 650,000 deaths worldwide linked to respiratory disorders, underlines the UN organization.

A private sector doctor and a pulmonologist, who wished to remain anonymous, also confirm the numerous cases of bronchitis currently recorded. According to them, this occurs particularly in patients whose immune systems are already weakened by comorbidities. Several patients had dengue fever before contracting the flu, which then complicated itself with bronchitis. “The flu affects the respiratory system, including the nose, throat and bronchi,” adds the pulmonologist. In these cases, the patient is treated with antibiotics, but if the bronchitis becomes chronic, anti-inflammatories in aerosol form are recommended, he explains.

Dr. Khodabocus and the pulmonologist therefore recommend that the most vulnerable people — young children, pregnant women, elderly people and those with comorbidities — be vaccinated, because they are more likely to develop complications. The flu vaccine is available at all five regional hospitals from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. More than 39,400 people have already been vaccinated in the establishments of the Ministry of Health and between 50,000 and 60,000 others have been inoculated under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Integration.

In addition to vaccination, our various interlocutors recommend strengthening the immune system. Dr Fazil Khodabocus advocates a healthy and balanced diet, regular physical activity, quality sleep of at least seven to eight hours per night, as well as stress management. He also recommends taking vitamin C, which is found in fruits and vegetables.

Acute and chronic bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi in the lungs. It can be acute or chronic. Symptoms of acute bronchitis include persistent cough, sputum production, chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever with chills, throat irritation, and wheezing.

When it comes to chronic bronchitis, the symptoms are more serious, with a persistent cough that can last several weeks, copious sputum, more frequent shortness of breath, wheezing, more pronounced fatigue, frequent respiratory infections and discomfort at the level. of the chest.

Flu figures

April 29 – May 5 3592

May 6 – 12 4158

May 13 – 19 4859

May 20 – 26 4452

Paracetamol and cough suppressants featured


Paracetamol, cough suppressants as well as vitamin C and zinc are currently in high demand in pharmacies, according to the president of the Pharmaceutical Association of Mauritius (PAM), Ashwin Dookun. With the change of season, many suffer from the flu or other winter illnesses, he said. However, he deplores the fact that certain pharmaceutical products are available over the counter in supermarkets and that many people consume them without professional advice. This also represents a big shortfall for pharmacies, notes the president of the PAM.

The number of flu cases will increase

The number of flu cases will increase in the coming weeks, estimates Dr Fazil Khodabocus. The reason is the drop in temperatures in recent weeks and the cold which will set in more and more during this winter period. From 3,592 flu cases from April 29 to May 5, the number increased to 4,452 from May 20 to 26. These figures concern cases reported in the public service as well as those recorded in the private sector. According to a private sector doctor, there is an increase in consultations due to flu or bronchitis, which reflects the situation in the public service.

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