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Around 650 000 people die of respiratory diseases linked to seasonal flu each year

Around 650 000 people die of respiratory  diseases linked to seasonal flu each year

Kolkata, Dec 15 (UNI) Around 650 000 deaths annually are associated with respiratory

diseases from seasonal influenza, according to new estimates by the United States Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC), the World Health Organization and global

health partners.

This marks an increase on the previous global estimate of 250 000 – 500 000, which

dates from over ten years ago and covered all influenza-related deaths, including

cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

The new figures of 290 000 – 650 000 deaths are based on more recent data from a

larger, more diverse group of countries, including lower middle income countries, and

exclude deaths from non-respiratory diseases.

“These figures indicate the high burden of influenza and its substantial social and

economic cost to the world,” said Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies

Programme Dr Peter Salama, “They highlight the importance of influenza prevention

for seasonal epidemics, as well as preparedness for pandemics.”

The estimates take into account findings from recent influenza respiratory mortality

studies, including a study conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention (US-CDC), published in The Lancet on Thursday.

According to US-CDC, most deaths occur among people aged over 75 years, and

in the world’s poorest regions. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the world’s greatest

flu mortality risk, followed closely by the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.

“All countries, rich and poor, large and small, must work together to control influenza

outbreaks before the arrival of the next pandemic. This includes building capacity to

detect and respond to outbreaks, and strengthening health systems to improve the health

of the most vulnerable and those most at risk,” said Dr Salama.

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