Influenza viruses remain leading pathogens of respiratory diseases in China: experts

Updated: Feb 5, 2024 Xinhua Print
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BEIJING -- Despite recent drop in flu cases, influenza viruses remain the leading pathogens of respiratory diseases in China, said health experts on Sunday, citing surveillance data.

The trend of respiratory diseases dominating alternatively or simultaneously is likely to continue in February, said experts at a press conference held by the National Health Commission (NHC).

The JN.1 variant has become the dominant COVID-19 variant in China, but the majority of its cases are mild, said Chen Cao, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevertheless, he warned that COVID-19 infections are expected to climb as the flow of travel between regions increases and crowds gather around the upcoming Spring Festival.

Health authorities across the country have been urged to strengthen the staff on duty to maintain vigilance and emergency preparedness, said NHC spokesperson Mi Feng.

The 120 first-aid ambulance hotline should remain open around the clock and efforts should be made to ensure first-aid and transfer service, said Mi, adding that as many fever clinics as possible should be opened in hospitals at or above the level of grade two, as well as in primary-level health institutions.

Chen advised holidaymakers to keep an eye on the development of infectious diseases as well as the health warnings issued by authorities. People are also advised to wear masks and ensure personal hygiene on transportation and in closed or crowded public places, monitor their health, eat a balanced diet, and exercise to boost their immunity.

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