Sydney : A two-year decline in influenza cases in Australia has come to an end as the number of pre-winter flu continues to rise.

During the Kovid-19 epidemic, when a large part of the population was in lockdown and international borders were closed, the number of flu was recorded, reports Xinhua news agency.

Urging people to get vaccinated against influenza, experts said flu cases will increase in the coming months, while COVID-19 continues.

That was the message at an online journalist briefing hosted by science-based website Skimex on Wednesday, where leading epidemiologists and immunologists discussed what could happen over the next few months.

Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, Prof. Catherine Bennett said that with the reopening of international borders, there was “no way” Australia would avoid a surge in flu cases.

Bennett also said that many people who haven’t had exposure to the highly contagious flu virus for a long time may now be even more vulnerable.

This is because previously when the flu was widespread in Australia, even unvaccinated people may have gained partial immunity from exposure to the virus from people around them.

“People really need to understand the importance of protecting themselves from both these viruses (flu and covid),” Bennett said.

Health officials are particularly keen on the most vulnerable members of the community, including pregnant women, children under the age of five, and people over the age of 65, and those with weakened immune systems, so that they can avoid the flu.

Dr Richard Broome, NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection, said: “All people six months of age and older are advised to take the flu jab, but especially those high-risk groups, as the virus is highly contagious and potentially utterly lethal.”

However, how severe it will be remains open to speculation, as experts such as microbiologist Dr Paul Griffin of the University of Queensland (UQ) told Xinhua on Wednesday that there were some mitigating factors that could reduce its severity. .

“One thing that works in our favor is that some people will continue to follow the practices adopted during the pandemic,” Griffin said.

“So they will continue to wear masks, wash their hands regularly and be more aware of the infectious risks of large crowds.

But on the other side of the equation, many of us haven’t gotten around to getting the flu shots of the past. A few years and so we need to remind people that getting vaccinated is extremely important.”

In fact, the return of flu has already begun with the National Notified Disease Surveillance, which has recorded 409 flu cases in March alone, compared to only 509 cases throughout 2021. the experts

It also noted that it is mid-autumn in Australia and the height of flu season will be in winter.