Flu patient numbers in Wales highest for four years

Children have been getting nasal flu vaccines
Image caption Children have been getting nasal flu vaccines

The number of patients being treated for flu in Wales is now the highest for four years, according to the latest figures for Public Health Wales.

Visits to GPs and hospital admissions have all increased with 277 patients being confirmed since mid-December, mostly in hospitals and care homes.

At least 3,000 people have also visited their GP with flu-like symptoms.

But the proportion is still classed within low activity for the winter season.

Nevertheless, public health doctors have urged at "at risk" groups to get flu vaccines, with less than half of those under 65 taking them up so far.

Dr Richard Roberts, head of the vaccine preventable disease programme at Public Health Wales, said, "Recent figures suggest that this winter will be the busiest flu season Wales has seen for several years.

"Most viruses being detected are influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which particularly affect the elderly and adults in at-risk groups.

"Influenza B viruses are also being detected, which usually affect children more than adults. "

Children aged two to four have been offered a nasal spray flu vaccine.

Image copyright Public Health Wales
Image caption The red line shows 2014/15 so far - and the dotted line the epidemic in 1999/2000

There have been 23.4 consultations with patients per 100,000 in the population, according to the latest figures.

This is higher in patients aged 35-44 years of age (38.6 per 100,000).

Normal seasonal activity is around the 25 per 100,000 mark.

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