Situation update on 24 January 2024

Seasonal flu in the Netherlands

The flu virus (influenza) is currently causing respiratory infections in more and more people in the Netherlands. This year’s seasonal flu epidemic has started. That is the conclusion of Nivel, Erasmus MC and RIVM. More and more people are visiting their GP with flu-like symptoms, and more and more nose and throat samples taken from people with flu-like symptoms reveal the presence of the flu virus. The number of people with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) is decreasing.

In the Netherlands, the normal threshold for declaring a flu epidemic is when there are two consecutive weeks in which more than 56 in 100,000 people with flu-like symptoms visit their GP at one of the Nivel monitoring stations in GP practices. This must also be corroborated by various sources showing that more flu virus has been detected.

About 67 in 100,000 people went to their GP with flu-like symptoms last week. GPs took nose and throat samples from some of these people. The samples were tested in the laboratory to determine which viruses were present. The number of samples in which researchers detected the flu virus has increased significantly. The Infection Radar survey and the reports from participating laboratories also show an increase in the number of people with the flu virus. The National Influenza Centre also received more samples containing flu viruses from hospital laboratories.

Other viruses also cause infections

People who visit the GP with flu-like symptoms could also have other viruses that cause respiratory symptoms. They include the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

What to do if you have symptoms

To protect people who are more at risk if they get a respiratory infection, the following recommendations are still important if you have symptoms:

  • Are you ill? Then stay home.
  • If you are not ill, but do have symptoms, then work from home if you can. Consult your employer if necessary.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Keep your distance from others.
  • Avoid contact with people who could become seriously ill from a respiratory infection.
  • Impossible to avoid contact (for example because you provide informal care)? Wear a face mask that covers the mouth and nose.

Good hygiene helps to limit the spread of infections and can help keep you from getting infected. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water, and ventilate indoor spaces.