One in six Brits to be hit with flu this winter.
New figures indicate a feverish season ahead for the UK
As temperatures start to drop, analysts have delivered another grim forecast with 17% of people in the UK set to be hit by the flu virus this year.
Figures from independent analyst Datamonitor Healthcare show that10.5 million Britons will be struck by the debilitating illness this season, which traditionally lasts from October to March. The UK is also expected to see these numbers continue to rise over the next eight years.
Michael Haydock, analyst at Datamonitor Healthcare said: “Due to the high incidence of flu, the World Health Organization strongly recommends seasonal influenza vaccinations for subpopulations who are at increased risk of serious morbidity. The recommendations include the elderly, pregnant women, children and adults with weakened immune systems, and those suffering from chronic medical conditions. Vaccination is an effective way of reducing complications and hospitalization in these individuals.”
The influenza virus is antigenically unstable, with new variants continually emerging. But vaccination is likely to become more effective, as traditional trivalent vaccines (TIVs) – which only include one B strain of influenza – are replaced by quadrivalent vaccines (QIVs) which incorporate two B strains.
In the UK, 33.4% of the population are expected to be vaccinated during the 2013/14 season.
Michael continued: “We expect the overall coverage of vaccination to increase as governments and the media increase awareness of influenza, largely due to the high profile avian and swine flu scares. Vaccine recommendations will also expand to include additional subgroups.
“Currently, the US is the only market with a universal recommendation for vaccination in persons aged over 6 months, but we expect EU countries will soon broaden their recommendations to include children aged five and under, and school-aged children of 5–17 years.”
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