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HPA to monitor UK flu activity

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has resumed monitoring flu activity in the UK in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the current situation.

The HPA want to know if the UK is experiencing a normal seasonal activity level of flu, the flu strain types in circulation and if they differ from the strains included in last year's flu vaccine.

The Agency monitors flu activity by sampling GP practices around the UK and determining how many patients are making flu-related appointments.

Professor John Watson, head of respiratory diseases department for the Agency, said: “It is important that we monitor flu activity week by week throughout the season so that we can assess how flu levels are changing and which viruses are circulating.

“Flu is in many ways an unpredictable virus and we are unable to say how much flu we will see in any winter or exactly when it will reach its peak.”

He adds that flu activity is currently below “baseline level”, with very few viruses in circulation.

The Agency point out that it is important that elderly people and those with heart problems, diabetes or asthma take up the offer of a flu vaccination.

Health Protection Agency