Flu cases in Wales increase over holiday period

Flu virus magnified 3D image Image copyright Dr_Microbe/Getty Images
Image caption Over the last week, 213 patients tested positive for H3N2 virus and 28 for the H1N1 flu type

The number of flu cases in Wales has risen over the Christmas period - but it is still well below the numbers during the outbreak of 2010-11.

The rate of patients with flu seeing their GP remains at "medium intensity".

But because surgeries were only open for three days over the holidays, the rate has been adjusted to 37.1 cases per 100,000 patients.

Doctors say people can cut the spread by coughing or sneezing into tissues, disposing of them and washing hands.

Flu season in Wales

GP consultation rate for influenza-like illness, consultations per 100,000 patients, by week

Source: Public Health Wales, January 2020

The latest "crude" flu rate in Wales was 22.3 GP consultations per 100,000 patients, before the adjustment.

  • Public Health Wales reported 298 confirmed cases
  • It is the highest weekly rate since the week of 21 February 2018 - just after a period which had hit high intensity levels
  • Two outbreaks were reported in residential homes and one in a hospital
  • More than 4,000 patients contacted the out-of-hours doctors services with respiratory problems
  • Unfortunately, a software problem means an age breakdown of those with flu has not been available for the past six weeks
  • More than three quarters of flu cases are of the H3N2 virus
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Uptake of the flu vaccine in Wales stands at 67.1%

Dr Sarah Aitken, executive director of public health at Aneurin Bevan health board, said: "Flu is a serious illness which can cause complications like bronchitis, pneumonia, meningitis and inflammation of the brain.

"If you think you have flu and are pregnant or have a long term health condition or are aged 65 or over, or if it is your child that is unwell, speak to your GP surgery as soon as possible as there is an increased risk of complications and they may prescribe antiviral medicines to help."

She said patients should also seek medical advice if symptoms did not improve after a week.

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