Influenza activity has continued to increase for several indicators in the last week of 2019, shows the latest report from the Public Health England (PHE).

There were 94 new acute respiratory outbreaks in the past 7 days, according to the weekly national influenza report published on 3 January.

The rate of influenza-like illness (ILI) continued to be above baseline threshold levels in week 51, as GP consultations with ILI increased from 16.0 per 100,000 to 19.4 per 100,000.

While the flu hospitalisation and intensive care admission rates both decreased from 7.14 per 100,000 to 6.29 per 100,000 and 0.40 per 100,000 to 0.38 per 100,000 respectively over the last week, this still suggested that the flu is having a moderate impact on hospital admissions as well as intensive care unit and high dependency unit admissions.

Vaccination rates up to week 51 remain at 70.2 per cent of adults over 65, 40.1 per cent of adults with a long-term health condition, 40.9 per cent of pregnant women, 35.2 per cent of 3-year-olds, 35.7 per cent of 2-year-olds.

“The best defence against flu is the vaccine and it’s not too late to protect yourself and your family. Anyone who is eligible and has not yet been vaccinated should contact their GP or pharmacist without delay,” said Dr Suzanna McDonald, national programme lead for influenza at the PHE.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has recently issued an advisory on ordering appropriate flu vaccines for the 2020-21 season.

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