SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

SHIVERS Project reveals mildest flu season in more than 20 years

The surveillance figures of the Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveillance Project results were announced on Monday, revealing the 2013 flu season as one of the mildest in more than 20 years.

The SHIVERS Project found that hospitalization due to influenza infections fell from 34.4 per 100,000 cases from April 29 to September 29 in 2012 to 2.26 per 100,000 during the same time period in 2013. The mortality rate due to influenza infection also fell from 27.3 per 1,000 in 2012 to 13 per 1,000 in 2013.

While the severity of the influenza virus this year is less than previous years, health professionals are still asking the public to take precautions against infection, as it "still poses a very real threat."

"Everyone needs to pay close attention to warning signs and not treat every onset of sickness the same," SHIVERS Project Investigator Dr. Sue Huang said. "People need medical advice if they are suddenly taken ill with symptoms that include a high temperature and coughing."

Health professors who helped conduct the SHIVERS Project said this year's results reveal more about the complexity of the flu virus.

"SHIVERS produces the kind of information we need to stay on top of response measures and also helps our colleagues in the Northern Hemisphere better prepare for their flu seasons," Huang said.