Number of new flu cases plunges


The number of new cases of flu has fallen dramatically in the UK, according to official figures

New cases of flu have fallen dramatically and are now at levels that would usually be seen outside the winter flu season.

The amount of flu has declined across the UK and is below baseline levels in England, Wales and Scotland, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Over the last week, the number of GP consultations in England has fallen to 24.1 per 100,000, down from 40.7 per 100,000 in the previous week.

This is below the baseline for flu activity of 30 consultations per 100,000. On December 30, the peak level was 124.4 per 100,000.

The data also shows that 395 people have now died from flu in the UK since September, up 57 on the figure for the previous week.

Most of these 57 newly-recorded deaths from flu have occurred over the past six weeks.

Flu type B remains the dominant strain in circulation, having taken over from swine flu. There are a few sporadic cases of flu type A.

Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: “Our latest flu report shows that levels of flu activity are now below baseline levels in England, Wales and Scotland.

“However, our surveillance will continue and we will still be monitoring what is happening to both the levels of consultations for flu-like illness and testing viruses until the end of the season in May.

“Although the peak of flu activity has passed, there will still be some flu viruses circulating and it is important that people remember to practise good cough and hand hygiene, such as covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and then disposing of these as soon as possible to stop it spreading in the community.”

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