Australian flu arrives in the UK: what are the symptoms and is there a vaccine?

Flu vaccines usually only cover 40-60% of people

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Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images Alt Text

Flu vaccines usually only cover 40-60% of people

What are the symptoms, who is most at risk and what can be done to prevent it?

One-Minute Read

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 – 12:52pm

First it was bird flu, then swine, now Australian flu is latest deadly influenza to hit our shores, causing a spike in hospital admissions and mounting panic.

What are the symptoms?

The most common signs to look out for are fever, nausea, sore throat, diarrhoea and headaches.

Why is it worse than normal flu?

Despite exhibiting many of the same symptoms as your average garden-variety flu, the Influenza A virus subtype H3N2 is a much more virulent strain. The Guardian says “the spread of Australian flu is potentially the worst outbreak in 50 years”.

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Australia, where the strain originated, experienced its worst winter flu season in nearly a decade, and it is believed the flu has claimed the lives of more than 300 Australians. In the UK, 17 people have been admitted into intensive care since the new year.

A number of deaths in Ireland have already been attributed to the strain, and Public Health England has said there were a growing number of reported cases in the past two weeks.

How bad could it get?

Virologists have turned to history to examine the potential impact of the outbreak. Specifically, they are looking at the 1968 Hong Kong flu epidemic, which was caused by the same strain and killed between 1 and 4 million people. This year’s outbreak is not expected to be anywhere near as severe.

However, this pales in comparison to the Spanish Flu epidemic, which broke out after the end of the First World …read more

Source:: The Week – All news

      

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