Colds and flu

Updated 25 March 2019

Who gets the flu?

It's very hard to determine exactly how prevalent the flu is. It is, however, very common over the colder months.

It’s impossible to accurately determine the true number of influenza infections, as many infections are not reported to healthcare institutions.

In the United States, an estimated 5% to 20% of the population are annually infected with influenza viruses, which translates to 50 million cases.

Worldwide, between 3 and 5 million cases of severe illness occurs, with an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 influenza-related deaths.

About 21% of people living in the same house as an infected child or adult will contract flu, according to American research.

Reviewed by Cape Town-based general practitioner, Dr Dalia Hack. March 2019.

Read more:

- Flu risk factors

- Symptoms of the flu


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Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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