Flu levels highest for three years, officials warn

Flu levels are currently higher than the peak activity for the past three seasons and may still be rising, according to official data released by Public Health England (PHE).

Flu: three-year high (Photo: iStock)
Flu: three-year high (Photo: iStock)

High circulation of the disease has prompted public health officials to relaunch the ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.’ campaign, which will roll out over the next three weeks.

According to the PHE Weekly National Influenza Report for Week 1 of 2015, a total of 74 new acute respiratory outbreaks were reported in the last seven days.

GP consultations

It added that overall weekly influenza-like GP consultations ‘increased in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland but remained stable in Scotland’. In Northern Ireland, the rate increased from 10.4 to 26.1 per 100,000.

Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at PHE, urged people in at-risk groups to visit their GP for vaccination.

He said: ‘Prevention of the virus is an even better intervention, and it’s not too late for people in ‘at-risk’ groups to get the vaccine for free as they are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu.’

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