Tool launched to warn of severe flu epidemics

A tool to warn of severe flu epidemics before they swamp GP surgeries and hospitals has been launched by scientists in London.

The website Flusurvey.org allows patients to report symptoms and compiles the data to predict an approaching surge in consultations.

Developers believe the tool is particularly useful as many people with flu symptoms do not visit their local practice.

Traditional flu surveillance methods rely on information that is generated by consultations at practices.

Anyone in the UK can register to provide weekly updates on flu-like symptoms and previous years have attracted 5,000 volunteers. The data is also sent to the UK’s Health Protection Agency.

Professor John Edmunds and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine developed the tool.

He said: ‘Being able to detect a flu epidemic before hospitals and GPs are snowed under with patients is vital.’

Meanwhile, leaders from health unions and the medical colleges have again urged NHS staff to get vaccinated against seasonal flu. Just 34.7% received the vaccine last winter.

A statement from NHS Employers said: ‘It’s vital that staff protect themselves, their families and those in their care.  We want having the vaccine to become routine and to be seen to be as important and fundamental as good hand hygiene in protecting the most vulnerable in our care. This simple act could save lives, including health workers and their families.’

Visit GPonline.com Interactive Guide to the Flu Season 2011/12

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

Rebuild GP campaign logo

Hundreds of GPs sign open letter highlighting 'decades of neglect' of general practice

Hundreds of GPs have signed an open letter to patients warning that 'decades of neglect'...

Dr Farah Jameel

PCNs are 'existential threat' to GP independent contractor model, BMA warns

The BMA's England GP committee has warned that PCNs pose an 'existential threat'...

Houses of Parliament

GP partnerships 'like collapsing Jenga stack' after Javid threat to nationalise practices

Sajid Javid's decision to back a report calling for the end of the GMS contract within...

£20 notes spread out

VAT trap for PCNs could strip millions of pounds from general practice

Tens of millions of pounds could be stripped from general practice because work carried...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Is the BMA representing GPs effectively, why GPs face a pension tax hit, and views on the workload crisis

In our regular news review the team discusses representation of GPs, a new survey...

Man sleeping

NICE guidance on insomnia backs app to replace sleeping pills

Hundreds of thousands of people with insomnia could be offered treatment via a mobile...