Flu activity update: 10 January 2013
10 January 2013
Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) up to 6 January 2013 show that flu activity remain at similar levels to those reported in the previous week based on a number of indicators, including GP consultation rates in England and the proportion of calls to NHS direct.
The latest figures show that GP consultation rates have decreased slightly from 32.7 per 100,000 in week 52 ending on 30 December to 29.2 on week 1 ending 6 January 2013. Meanwhile, 2.0% of the calls received by NHS Direct concerned influenza compared to 2.1% in week 52.
In week 1 (ending 6 January 2013), the weekly primary care ILI consultation rate decreased in England (29.2 per 100,000) and increased in Wales (33.0 per 100,000), Scotland (46.3 per 100,000) and Northern Ireland (87.0 per 100,000).
Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at the HPA said:
“The flu activity has remained similar to last week across several of our indicators in line with the trend we expect to see at this time of year.
“However, 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 still remains very important that everyone does their best to prevent the spread of the flu virus by maintaining good cough and hand hygiene such as covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, disposing of the tissue promptly and washing your hands as soon you can.”
Flu symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, a cough with a sore throat, and aching muscles and joints. If you are otherwise healthy and are suffering from flu, you should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and take pain relievers such as paracetamol. Children under 16 should not take any medication containing aspirin.
Notes to editors
- For the full weekly flu report refer to the HPA National Influenza Report - week 2 (2013) (PDF, 675 KB) document.
- For the the latest weekly flu graphs view the PHE Weekly National Influenza Graphs (PDF, 596 KB) document.
- Please visit the HPA website's Seasonal Influenza page for more information on influenza.
- Following HPA advice on the increasing levels of flu circulating, the Department of Health has issued guidance to GPs on the use of antiviral drugs for the management of people presenting with flu-like illness in England who are at higher risk of developing complications from flu.
- To see the current guidance for prescribing antivirals please go to: www.nice.org.uk [external link]. It does not recommend antivirals for the prevention of flu in otherwise healthy people under 65, even if they have been in close contact with someone with a flu-like illness.
- For further information about the flu vaccination, including who should have it please visit the NHS website [external link].
- For information on why healthcare workers should receive the flu vaccine please visit the NHS Employers website [external link].
- The Health Protection Agency is an independent UK organisation that was set up by the government in 2003 to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards. In April 2013, subject to the usual approvals procedures for establishing new bodies, the Health Protection Agency will become part of a new organisation called Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health. To find out more, visit our website: http://www.hpa.org.uk or follow us on Twitter @HPAuk or ‘Like’ us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthProtectionAgency [external link]
- For more information please contact the national HPA press office at Colindale on 0208 327 7901 or email email@example.com. Out of hours the duty press officer can be contacted on 0208 200 4400.
Last reviewed: 10 January 2013