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Flu rates at highest

Flu is at its highest level for three years casting doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Figures from YouGov show that 74 outbreaks have been reported during the past week in England and that 107 people have been admitted to hospital.

Concerns have also been raised by doctors at Southampton General Hospital that the virus may have mutated.

This supports the US Centre of Disease Control's statement that half of H3N2 Viruses (influenza A type virus) they tested were “different strains” to those protected by the flu jab.

Flu is circulating at its highest level for three years, amid concerns the vaccine may be less effective.

Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at Public Health England, said: "This indicates a proportion of circulating flu viruses circulating in the UK are likely to be drifted.

"Further analysis will take place, but it is not clear yet if these drift variants will become the dominant strain nor if such a drift will result in reduced effectiveness of the vaccine.

"Existing vaccine is likely to still provide some protection and getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself from flu."