Flu infections have almost completely disappeared in the UK

Monday, 1st February 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Monday, 1st February 2021, 12:58 pm
Flu infections have almost completely disappeared in the UK (Photo: Shutterstock)

The flu has almost disappeared entirely from parts of the UK, The Times reports.

Infections are said to have fallen to their lowest level in more than 100 years. Experts put this down to measures in place to fight coronavirus, such as social distancing, and increased immunity.

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Health officials found that the flu positivity rate - a standard measure of the extent to which flu is being spread - was at zero per cent, with zero positive samples out of 1,894.

The number of people reporting flu or influenza-like symptoms to their GP in the second week of January 2021 was 0.001 per cent, or 1.1 per 100,000 people, compared to the five year average rate of 0.027, or 27 per 100,000 people.

Flu rates where you live

In England, 42 people out of the four million patients who attended 392 GP surgeries had influenza-like illness.

The Midlands, and East of England both had flu rates of 0.5 per 100,000, while cases in Wales were only one in 100,000 and 0.5 in Scotland.

This time of year would generally see thousands of people becoming ill with flu, and many ending up in hospitals. However, the number of hospital admissions for flu in England in the second week of January was zero.

This trend is reflected the world over, with latest figures showing that less than a tenth of the normal billion or so people who get the flu each year have picked it up.

Speaking to The Times, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, said: “Data from the RCGP’s research and surveillance centre suggests community prevalence of flu is around 95% lower than normal at this time of year in England, when compared to the five-year average.

“Whilst a staggering figure, it makes sense when you consider the lockdown restrictions, social distancing measures, and increased focus on maintaining good hygiene practices we are seeing at the moment - which will work to stop the spread of contagious illnesses such as colds and flu, as well as Covid-19.”