Deadly Australian flu virus sweeps Britain

Flu cases to increase as deadly Australian strain hits Britain and Europe

Have you been coughing and spluttering over the Christmas break? You may have the deadly Australian flu strain sweeping across Britain and parts of Europe, warn medical experts.

Thousands of Brits have already been struck down by the flu this winter and at the current rate of illness, it’s already set to be the worst flu season for eight years.

Sadly, there’s more gloom to come, experts believe, who say the disease traditionally peaks between January and March.

The European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS) has revealed that one deadly flu strain which emerged in Australia in 2007, causing a severe epidemic and killing six children, is spreading.

According to EISS, Britain, Bulgaria, Ireland and Spain are all experiencing ‘medium intensity’ flu activity and analysis of the strains shows that the deadly H3N2 Brisbane 10 strain is the most common of them all.

The report says: ‘Given the current epidemiological and virological situation it is anticipated that in the coming weeks seasonal influenza will reach epidemic levels in a number of European countries.’

Moderate flu activity at this time of the season is normal and should not make us think that everything is over by Christmas,’ says Professor Koos van der Velden, former chairman of EISS. ‘We fully expect the season to intensify soon and people should continue to receive vaccination through December and early January to protect themselves and their loved ones.’

If you are suffering, keep cosy, drink plenty of fluids and take aspirin or paracetamol for your symptoms, say doctors. Get well soon!

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