Wales

Flu levels peaked but remain high - Public Health Wales

Ill person in bed Image copyright Getty Images

The number of new flu cases is still higher than in each of the past six years but they have reached their peak, Public Health Wales has said.

In January, people visiting GPs with flu symptoms reached "high intensity" levels and they were also urged to stay away from hospitals due to the "significant increase" in cases.

But new cases have fallen in each of the past two weeks.

However, less than half of "at risk" patients have been vaccinated.

Dr Chris Williams, a consultant epidemiologist at Public Health Wales (PHW), said: "There's still a lot of people who are going to get flu between now and the end of the flu season but you can still prevent the risk of getting it."

At the peak of the flu levels, figures showed there were 64.9 consultations per 100,000 people. The latest figures showed that was down to 44.3 per 100,000 people.

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The concern is that only 48% of people who are pregnant, or have chronic conditions such as the heart, liver, lung and kidneys have received the flu jab.

Dr Williams said he did not know the reason why the take-up is low.

"People often don't perceive themselves to be at risk," he added.

"But those 'at risk' are the types of people who will end up with complications from influenza and could end up in hospital."

There was still time to get the vaccination, he added.

"The season lasts about 14 weeks. We are in week six and the vaccine takes 10 days to kick in," he said.

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