PRO/AH/EDR> Respiratory disease outbreak – Malta: ILI, RFI


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 30 Aug 2023
Source: Newsbook [edited]

This summer has seen a sharp increase in the number of
laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, with an average of 21.57 cases
being reported weekly during the months of July and August [2023].

This figure excludes the number of cases that have gone undetected or
that were not reported.

In a reply to about the unprecedented number of
people experiencing flu-like symptoms during this summer, a
spokesperson for the Health Ministry said that laboratories have
confirmed seeing an average of 21.57 cases being reported weekly
between 3 Jul 2023 and 20 Aug 2023.

In contrast, during the previous 4 weeks, the average number of cases
stood at 0.25 per week, the spokesperson said.

According to the Health Ministry, the proportion of influenza-like
illness cases reported has also shown an increasing trend since 10 Jul
2023, with an average weekly rate of 45.17 cases between 10 Jul 2023
and 20 Aug 2023 compared to 26.86 in the previous 4 weeks.

Last week, a source from the medical field told this newsroom that
this summer, general practitioners in the community have observed an
unprecedented rise in the number of persons suffering from flu-like
symptoms, particularly muscle aches and fever. This has never been
experienced before, the source said, noting that such a rise in cases
is usually experienced only during the winter months.

According to the source, reasons for this could be the increase in the
number of tourists during the summer months, exposing locals more to
these viruses. It could also be attributed to the waning immunity of
the boosters, as well as the COVID-19 variant changing, the source

Statistics provided by the Health Ministry also show that while fewer
people are getting tested for COVID-19, there has also been a spike in
COVID-19 cases. Last year [2022], during the 3rd week of August, the
country recorded an average of over 359 active cases. During that
period, 4908 tests were carried out.

On the other hand, during the 3rd week of August this year [2023], the
country reported 312 active cases. From 1000 tests done that week
alone, 120 new cases were discovered.

[Byline: Michaela Pia Camilleri]

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