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Parents warned to keep kids off school in flu epidemic

The flu epidemic in France is still at troubling levels, as health minister Agnès Buzyn reminds all parents not to let their child go to school if they show any signs of the illness or could potentially have it.

A significant information campaign has now been launched, ahead of the new school term (the rentrée scolaire) after the Christmas holiday period, which begins tomorrow (Monday January 8), explains French news source FranceInfo.

In her statement, Buzyn said that she would like all families “to be informed of the necessity of not sending a child to school if they could potentially have flu”.

She also reminded people that regular hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of the illness.

Serious flu - or influenza, known in French as “grippe” - has been dubbed an epidemic in France over the past few weeks, with almost 11,500 people recorded as being admitted to hospital with the condition between December 25 and 31 2017.

This represents an 80% increase compared to the previous week, and children have been especially affected, with over half of those coming into hospital emergency departments aged under 15 years, and one quarter aged under five.

The epidemic comes after health commentators warned that more people should consider getting the flu vaccination - including young, otherwise-healthy people - rather than simply those with immune system deficiencies, or the very young or very old.

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