Concerns Deadly Flu Outbreak Could Be about To Hit The UK
A strain of influenza which hit Australia and affected 98,000 people, is set to come to Britain and could cause our worst epidemic for fifty years.
The outbreak of H2N2 has been the most severe on record and due to global travel, it is set to come to the UK next.
The annual death rate from flu in the UK is about 8,000, but experts fear this new strain will cause it to increase for 2017.
NHS England has urged everyone to get the winter flu jab, especially vulnerable groups with lower immune systems who are more likely to contract the virus and develop complications.
The vulnerable groups include the over-65s, pregnant women, children from six to 24 months and those with long-term illness such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
Last year, less than half of those in the most at risk groups took up the free NHS flu jab.
According to the Mirror, Dr Ian Gray, medical head of Sanofi Pasteur UK & Ireland, said:
The medical community has been concerned at the low number of eligible people in at-risk groups taking up the NHS flu vaccination.
People who are not eligible can pay for a private flu jab at most major pharmacies. Boots is currently charging £12.99.
The vaccinations do not guarantee you won’t get the flu, but makes the symptoms more likely to be mild and short-lived if you do.
The H2N2 strain first surfaced in 1957 and was known as the ‘Asian Flu’. It was a category two flu pandemic outbreak of avian influenza which originated in China in early 1956 lasting until 1958.
It originated from mutation in wild ducks combining with a pre-existing human strain, which was then followed by a second wave in 1958 and H2N2 went on to become part of the regular wave of seasonal flu.
In 1968, the H2N2 Asian flu disappeared from the human population and is believed to have gone extinct in the wild.
The US death toll from the Asian Flu was almost 70,000.
You can find out more about the flu jab on the NHS website.