Threat of flu still present

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doctor-840127_1280Although the peak of influenza infections has passed, the flu associated dangers are still present, the French public health service said on Wednesday.

So far, 14,300 deaths have been attributed to flu as a contributory factor, most occurring in patients with other underlying conditions.

The health service has reported that there has been a decrease in visits to the doctor for influenza-like illness, with 340 consultations per 100,000 inhabitants during the week of January 30 to February 5, compared with 429 the week before.

All regions of metropolitan France remain in “epidemic phase”, however.

The seasonal flu epidemic of seasonal influenza normally lasts for an average duration of nine weeks in France, according to historical data recorded since 1984. It sometimes lasts longer, as in the winter 2009-2010, when it lasted for over 16 weeks.

The vast majority of severe cases – 68 percent – involved patients aged 65 years and older. In the past week alone, 3,599 emergencies were linked to influenza, of which 625 required hospitalisation.

The “increase in all-cause mortality” observed since mid-December “concerns almost exclusively people aged 65 or more,” also notes the public agency.

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