Influenza is starting to circulate in the community but is at moderate levels, new research from Public Health England suggests.
The statistics show the flu hospitalisation and intensive care admission rates have both increased from 1.06 to 1.96 per 100,000, and from 0.19 to 0.29 per 100,000 respectively, since December. The GP consultation rate with flu-like illness has remained similar to the previous week, at 8.4 per 100,000.
‘We have seen a rise in several of the flu indicators we track in the last week which suggests flu is now circulating in the community in England,’ said Richard Pebody, Head of Flu at Public Health England. ‘This year, we’ve offered a more effective ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine to those aged 65 years and over; a ‘quadrivalent’ vaccine, which helps protect against four strains of flu, to those aged 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions, and further roll-out of the nasal spray vaccine to an extra school year, as part of the children’s flu vaccine programme.’
In regards to flu vaccination, 69.7% of adults over 65, 44.7% of adults with a long-term health condition, 43.6% of pregnant women, 43.0% of 3-year-olds, 41.5% of 2-year-olds and 61.0% of healthcare workers have received the vaccine.
'Uptake of the flu vaccine in pre-school age children is at its highest ever level, and rates of vaccination among eligible adults are similar to recent seasons,’ added Mr Pebody. ‘We are currently seeing mainly A(H1N1)pdm09 circulating which is well matched to the strains in this year’s flu vaccines. The best form of protection against flu is to get the vaccine if you are eligible and to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene.