UK braces for flu epidemic

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Doctors in the UK are bracing for a flu outbreak which is being predicted to be one of the worst for a decade. The influenza strain is thought to be similar to the variant that was responsible for Australia’s worst ever outbreak earlier this year, which saw 72 deaths and 170,000 cases.

“We know that the virus responsible for a large number of those cases was a strain of the H3N2 influenza virus,” Professor Andrew Easton of Warwick University told The Guardian. “A similar viral strain was used to create part of the vaccine that has been distributed round Britain this month. However, we do not know how well it will work until this year’s flu epidemic begins.”

The strains that are currently being considered dangerous were reviewed and highlighted by the World Health Organisation at the beginning of the year, before the Australian outbreak.