Between 500 000 and 700 000 people could be affected by the flu epidemic expected to hit Bulgaria within weeks, the country’s chief health inspector Angel Kounchev told Bulgarian National Radio.
The bulk will likely be affected by the Victoria strand of the flu virus (influenza A virus, subtype H3N2).
“Victoria is one of the classic H3N2 viruses, which means that we are expecting a familiar picture, the difference being that we think it will affect more people and will hit hard the two risk groups – children and the elderly,” Kounchev said.
The height of the flu season in Bulgaria is in February. In Europe, flu season was just starting, Kounchev said, but the forecasts for Bulgaria were based on data from the US, where the flu season started early and appeared to be worse than in most years.
At least 47 US states reported the number of flu instances as widespread, with New York governor Andrew Cuomo issuing a public health emergency on January 12. Last week, the city of Boston declared a public health emergency as well.
(Photo: Brian Hoskins/sxc.hu)