Aussie flu is an influenza A virus given its name after causing a wide outbreak across Australia in 2017. There has been a spike in UK cases recently, with more than 430 people hospitalised in 2017. One of the most at-risk groups from this Aussie flu is the elderly, according to Public Health England (PHE). A PHE website statement says: “People over the age of 65 are slightly more likely to catch H3N2 – that’s why it’s important to take up the offer of the vaccine, all vaccines offered to adults cover against this strain.”
Hospital admissions for all types of influenza have generally risen this winter in comparison to the previous one.
To coincide with the latest PHE report, Richard Pebody, Head of Flu at the government health body, said: “Flu continues to circulate although there are early signs that activity is peaking.
“To prevent the spread of flu, it is important to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene and to avoid close contact with others if you have flu symptoms.”
People are being urged to wash their hands frequently to stop the spread of contamination.
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Tissues should also be used to trap germs with them being disposed of in the bin immediately after.
The latest live flu map, updated every three minutes, shows high levels of flu-like symptoms currently reported in Essex, Lake District and central Scotland.
Where else has Aussie flu spread?
Aussie flu has also engulfed parts of the United States, with A viruses H3N2 and H1N1 dominating, along with some B viruses.
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De Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN it was a “bad year” of flu.
He said: “When H3N2 dominates, it generally is a bad actor from the beginning and usually foreshadows a bad year.
“Superimpose upon that the fact that it is likely that the vaccine is not going to be particularly effective this year.”
World Health Organisation (WHO) figures also show influenza is prominent across Asia including Cambodia, Japan, the Philippines and Singapore.