Flu Season Begins in Croatia: Quarter of Patients Have Severe Complications

By 10 December 2019

The flu season in Croatia began unusually early this year and based upon the number of patients the epidemic is currently in an upward trajectory. Laboratory tests have confirmed 270 cases of Type A H1N1, a pandemic type which was called "swine" flu in 2009, when the virus was first isolated.

Vladimir Draženović, a virologist at the National Center for Influenza at the Croatian Institute of Public Health, reported that several cases with multiple complications have already appeared, according to Ivana Krnić/Jutarnji List on December 9, 2019.

Actual Number of Flu Cases Closer to 3000

- Considering that there are already 270 reported cases, we can safely assume that the actual number of those affected is closer to three thousand. Patients have experienced severe complications. We are getting calls from other European countries and colleagues are asking us what is happening in Croatia - says virologist Draženović.

He added that as many as ten percent of the patients have developed pneumonia. Adding encephalitis and myocarditis to the list means that number of flu patients experiencing severe complications is closer to twenty-five percent. Also, according to Draženović, it is unusual that about a dozen newborns have fallen ill.

Only Seeing H1N1 (Swine Flu) in Croatia

- We are getting inquiries from Europe since we only are only seeing the H1N1 type, which is also unusual because instances of all the other viruses are being reported outside the country. This flu virus, currently the only one in Croatia, has created major problems, from serious complications for many patients to fatalities - says Vladimir Draženović.

- We encountered one patient who was vaccinated and still got the flu and experienced inflammation of the brain sheath. However, this patient was vaccinated only three days earlier, so the vaccine has not yet started to work - says Draženović, adding that it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.


Get Vaccinated!

It is worth pointing out that the flu season has started to appear earlier and last longer.

- Until recently, this was the situation in January, but obviously trends are changing - says Draženović, who still recommends getting vaccinated.

This year, the vaccine was dispensed in record time, so besides 360,000 doses, another 30,000 have ordered to be distributed across the country. Since these vaccines are intended for at-risk groups, others can order the vaccine through a pharmacy, take it to their doctor, and get vaccinated there.

Follow our Lifestyle page for updates on the flu season in Croatia.