In the first week of the year, the flu outbreak will spread across the country, according to the ‘Pharmacy Awakening’ forecast, a barometer that anticipates flu activity from drug dispensation data.
Acting on previous data, it is predicted that influenza outbreaks in Madeira, the Algarve district and the municipality of Almodôvar will reach grade 4 (high).
According to António Teixeira Rodrigues, the director of the Centre for Health Studies and Evaluation (CEFAR), information ascertained from pharmacy activity, shows that the affected areas have already reached the level of epidemic activity corresponding to last year’s peak flu season. Also, the epidemic is expected to increase and is currently predicted to be as severe as 2019.
However, pharmacies say there is no reason for alarm, especially as they regard last years outbreak as moderate. But people should take preventative measures, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding crowded indoor environments and using disposable tissues.
The ‘Pharmacy Awakening’ predicts flu activity, county by county, based on daily dispensing numbers for medicines and health products. The network of pharmacies serves, on average, 520 thousand people per day. This mass contact with the population makes it possible to anticipate the evolution of the epidemic by two weeks. Furthermore, says Peter Heudtlass, a CEFAR researcher the model was tested using real data from the last five years.
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