Flu virus hits Switzerland

Swiss health authorities expect an outbreak of the flu. Keystone

Health experts say that flu cases in Switzerland are on the rise and the country may soon face an epidemic of the New Caledonian virus.

This content was published on January 8, 2001 - 08:00

The first Swiss cases of the New Caledonian flu appeared last week. The same strain hit Belgium and northern France in late December.

Werner Wunderli, of the Swiss National Flu Centre, says the New Caledonian influenza strain is not particularly dangerous and its symptoms are similar to those of other influenza strains.

Wunderli told swissinfo that while cases of the virus are still sporadic in Switzerland, the number of flu-related doctor visits is rising steadily.

According to the centre, the flu has been delayed in hitting Switzerland this year and holiday school closings have probably prevented an outbreak so far.

Health experts suggest that people at risk, such as the elderly, get vaccinated against the flu before an outbreak occurs.

A nasal vaccination is on the market in Switzerland this year for the first time. While it costs more than traditional inoculations, Wunderli says the nasal vaccination is generally effective.

The incubation time for the flu is 24-72 hours. Symptoms generally include a rapid onset of fever, coughing, sore throat, muscle pain and fatigue.


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