School flu cases rise as officials urge antiviral use

GP consultations for flu are rising in the UK with school children in England worst affected, latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show.

50% rise in GP consultations for flu among children aged 5-14 last week.
50% rise in GP consultations for flu among children aged 5-14 last week.

Officials called for GPs to use antiviral medicines to protect vulnerable patients against flu complications after HPA figures published on Thursday revealed a steep rise in cases.

Figures show there was a 50% rise in GP consultations for flu among children aged 5-14 last week, reaching 46.9 per 100,000. Flu consultations among the general population rose by 64%, from 14.3 to 23.4 per 100,000.

Outbreaks have been reported in certain schools and flu-related calls to NHS Direct have risen.

Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at the HPA, said: 'We are seeing an increase in flu activity mainly among school children indicating the start of this year’s flu season.'

He urged at-risk patients to get vaccinated, adding: 'As levels of flu have started to increase, the HPA has recommended that antivirals should be used for the treatment and prevention of flu in those who are at risk of serious complications.'

England's CMO has signalled that GPs can now prescribe antivirals on the NHS.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

Older adults living in care homes and staff working there will be first to receive...

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs facing fitness to practise investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic will be...

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

A government review has rejected calls for a major overhaul of an NHS Property Services...

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

The RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have called on GP practices and community...

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments have risen rapidly in recent weeks as schools returned, according...

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

Medical training and the future NHS workforce could be seriously damaged by the financial...