This site is intended for health professionals only

Falling number of flu cases defy expert predictions

6 January 2009

Share this article

Flu and colds appear to be lessening their grip on the country as data from the Royal College of GPs reports that cases of both are falling.

Flu is down from 68.5 per 100,000 people to 41.3 in just one week, while cases of the common cold have dropped from 355.3 per 100,000 to 184.7.

A college spokeswoman said it was unlikely that flu would hit the previously-predicted nine-year high, although experts have not ruled out a future rise.

Chairman Professor Steve Field has warned that people returning to work and school could easily spread flu and the vomiting bug norovirus.

He said: “GPs are coping and this is by no means a crisis, but I think a lot of people are looking to us because they want a sick note.

“My prediction is that people are coming back to work or school and they are circulating influenza and transferring it to each other. We think cases of flu and norovirus will go up again.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The NHS is well prepared and the service is coping. Across the country, NHS staff including those who work in urgent and emergency care, are doing an excellent job at a busy time of the year.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Royal College of General Practitioners