According to figures from the Health Protection Agency, consultations for patients in England with flu symptoms rose from 23 per 100,000 in mid-December to 33 per 100,000 in the week ending December 30th. Scotland and Northern Ireland also saw similar increases with consultation rates of 37 and 44 per 100,000.
Figures show that although cases of the flu are increasing, they are still below official figures from previous years.
Head of the Health Protection Agency’s respiratory disease department, Professor John Watson, , said: “The latest data should be interpreted with caution due to GP practices being closed on the bank holidays which may have impacted on GP consultation rates. It is vital that those who are most “at risk” from flu make sure they receive their vaccination as this is the most effective way of preventing them from becoming ill with the virus. These “at risk” groups include people with weakened immune systems, those with underlying conditions such as liver, lung or renal diseases, heart problems or diabetes, as well as the over 65’s and pregnant women.”
The release of the figures coincides with the governments “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it” Campaign with is aimed at reducing flu infections rates and help stop the spread of the virus.
For more information on flu vaccinations please see our UK flu vaccination page and also see advice from your GP / doctor.