Italian hospitals were under intense pressure due to the worst flu wave the country has witnessed in at least 15 years, Italian health professionals warned on Friday.
Admissions to emergency rooms have increased by 20 percent to 30 percent in the last few days, mainly due to serious flu cases, according to the Italian Federation of Health Authorities and Hospitals (FIASO).
“Unfortunately, we are witnessing serious pneumonia cases in intensive care units, not due to Covid infections but to the consequences of influenza,” FIASCO President Giovanni Migliore told state-run media Rai News 24.
“We still need to be cautious because we are expecting to face the impact of schools reopening (in January) on hospitals in the coming weeks,” he added.
In another report on Thursday, the FIASCO said that hospital admissions for COVID-19 were decreasing for the fourth consecutive week, with a 22 percent drop in number of patients in the first week of 2024 compared to the previous one.
“Also COVID-19 patients sent to intensive care units fell by 27 percent that week, and their incidence on total number of ICU patients fell from 6 percent to 5.5 percent in absolute terms,” the FIASCO said.
“This is the worst flu season in the last 15 years, and we had not seen anything similar even in the same previous period,” Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa, said on social media platform X earlier this month.
Meanwhile, he attributed the flu wave to the low rates of vaccination among the population, especially the most fragile people. ■