Influenza virus could cause pneumonia, doctors warn

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Doctors cautioned pregnant women, the elderly population and people with chronic diseases to be careful of the influenza virus, as their condition may leave them vulnerable to pneumonia.

Consultant Virologist, head of the National Influenza Centre, Medical Research Institute (MRI) Dr. Jude Jayamaha appealed to the public – especially those in the high risk vulnerable groups to seek immediate medical attention if they had fever for more than two days (more than 48 hours).

When contacted on Friday (17), he said that pregnant women, children below two years, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses such as lung, heart (excluding hypertension) renal, liver or neurological diseases were in this high risk group.   

There have been deaths among pregnant women during the past years. However, this year we have not had any deaths due to influenza to date. “The influenza or seasonal flu is self-limiting,” he said.

The symptoms include, cough, cold and fever. Dr. Jayamaha said that better known as seasonal flu the viral infection is most prevalent in the months of May to July and during the months December to February.

Fielding questions the Consultant Virologist said that it was advisable to wear a mask – especially those who are immune compromised should be advised to wear a mask especially when visiting hospitals, enclosed premises and when using public transport. 

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

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