This year, most likely due to Covid-19 prevention measures, no influenza has been detected by three sentinel surveillance programmes, which are designed to monitor influenza outbreaks annually.
According to a short article in the July 2020 monthly communique published by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, after an initial outbreak of two strains of flu in the Western Cape early this year, only one case of flu has been detected in Gauteng in the week ending 14 June.
The author is Professor Cheryl Cohen, the co-head of the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, one of the country’s foremost epidemiologists.
Cohen co-authored a study in September 2019, which found that, on average, 10 million South Africans were infected with the flu each year.
In an April interview with News24, Cohen warned that the flu season would cause a “sea of respiratory illness” that would make detecting Covid-19 cases much harder.