Influenza overtakes novel coronavirus as most prevalent virus in Beijing, sounding alarm for possible multiplex of COVID-19, influenza and norovirus
Published: Feb 26, 2023 07:53 PM
Influenza Photo: CPF

Influenza Photo: CPF


Influenza has overtaken the novel coronavirus and become the most prevalent virus in Beijing as the positive rate of influenza across the country continued to rise in recent week, data released by the disease prevention and control authorities showed. 

It sparked discussions on whether Chinese cities will have an influenza outbreak surpassing that of previous years and whether there will be a duplex of COVID-19 and influenza.

Influenza has overtaken the novel coronavirus to become the most prevalent virus in Beijing between February 13 and 19, data released by Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed. Meanwhile, occasional suspension of classes in schools of multiple cities including North China's Tianjin and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province were reported due to the prevalence of influenza.

China CDC Weekly report on influenza on February 23 showed the positive rate of influenza in the country continued to rise compared to that of last week. The influenza A (H1N1) type takes up 71 percent of the total samples of the influenza, ranking the highest percentage, data showed. 

"It's no surprising to see the prevalence of influenza in this season, especially when nowadays the relative loosening requirements for wearing masks in public places provide a ground for prevalence of influenza," Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert from Peking University First Hospital, told the Global Times on Sunday.

In the past three years, influenza was in a low prevalence state because of COVID-19 prevention and control measures. Comparing with previous years in the same period, the prevalent intensity this year also is in its low level, Wang continued. 

Zhou Yishan, a pediatrician from Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shunyi, has been busy with handing influenza-related cases in past days. Zhou told Life Week thatthough there was a small rise in his department, but it is merely sporadic. 

Factors including relaxed COVID-19 prevention and control measures and rapid movement of people from southern part and northern part of the country, as well as the reopening of schools were the major reasons behind for the sporadic spread, Zhou noted. 

Besides of the prevalence of influenza, multiple disease prevention and control authorities had warned that the acute infectious diarrhea caused by norovirus has also entered its peak. 

The period from October to March is a common season for norovirus. Since there is no vaccines to help people to guard against the virus, people should be hygienic to prevent getting infected with the norovirus, Wang Guiqiang from Peking University First Hospital told Chinese media recently. 

Wang Guangfa reminded medical institutions not to misjudge the disease whether is influenza or COVID-19 infection or just pure cold, because of its similar onset symptoms, such as fever and soar throat.  

Influenza overtaking the novel coronavirus also confirms a fact that China has generally formed immunity against COVID-19 and the country has stepped out of COVID-19 shadow. So, in the current season the possibility of a duplex of influenza and COVID-19 is quite low, Wang Guangfa noted. 

But in winter, the possibility for the virus duplex will get higher. The antibody against COVID-19 on most people will get weaker after six months and winter is a high season for influenza prevalence, Wang Guangfa explained.