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Flu bug cases near epidemic levels

Winter chill brings new virus attacks and sees peak power record smashed after 24 hours

THE FREEZING weather - which has already seen yesterday's power consumption record smashed - has led to an increase in people suffering flu and it has reached epidemic levels in Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

Nationwide the numbers of new cases are just below the epidemic level and the medical watchdog Sentinelles says they see 148 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (epidemic level is set at 165 cases per 100,000).

It is too late to benefit from the anti-flu jab which takes 15 days to be effective but it is known to work against the main flu type being seen at the moment, called H3N2.

For those who have not had the jab, doctors recommend following general good hygiene practices: washing hands regularly with soap and water, especially after sneezing or coughing; using paper tissues and throwing them away after use, and getting plenty of fresh air.

Flu epidemics generally last about nine weeks, with the peak around the fifth week.

Gastro-enteritis cases have already exceeded the epidemic level with 287 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, making 182,000 new cases this past week. In the last five weeks nearly 900,000 people have consulted their GP about gastro-enteritis symptoms.

* Météo France has 52 departments still on orange alert for freezing weather with no respite predicted before the weekend. This morning Le Parisien reported temperatures of -18.7C at Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, -17.8C at Puy, -16.5C at Bergerac and -15.6C at Aurillac. Consumers used a new record amount of electricity last night at 19.00, hitting 101,700MW.

Photo: DPix Center - Fotolia.com

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