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Influenza: seasonal levels decrease, although activity remains

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Flu levels are now decreasing Flu levels are now decreasing

Seasonal flu continues to circulate across the UK, although activity is decreasing, according to the latest figures from Public Health England (PHE).

Over the last week, GP consultations with flu-like illness decreased from 14.7 per 100,000 to 10.3 per 100,000 and are now below baseline levels.

Flu hospitalisation and intensive care admission rates also decreased from 2.43 per 100,000 to 1.44 per 100,000 and 0.21 per 100,000 to 0.13 per 100,000 respectively. PHE has said that this suggests flu is having a low impact on hospital admissions as well as intensive care unit and high dependency unit admissions.

‘Although flu activity is decreasing, it is still circulating in the community,’ said Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Head of Flu, Public Health England.

‘The best defence against flu is the vaccine and it’s not too late to protect yourself and your family. Anyone who is eligible and has not yet been vaccinated should contact their GP or pharmacist without delay.’

Currently, 71.4% of adults over 65, 42.5% of adults with a long-term health condition, 42.4% of pregnant women, 40.9% of 3-year-olds and 40.3% of 2-year-olds have received the flu vaccine.

At the same time last year, 70.8% of adults over 65, 46.2% of adults with a long-term health condition, 44.5% of pregnant women, 44.6% of 3-year-olds and 42.7% of 2-year-olds were vaccinated.

‘Uptake among 2 to 3-year-olds is behind where we would like to see it, so we are calling on parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible,’ added Dr Lopez Bernal.

‘Current evidence suggests the vaccine is a good match for the main strain of flu that is circulating.’

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