No end in sight to flu epidemic


Flanders is still suffering from the flu in large numbers, nine weeks after the epidemic started, much longer than usual

Wash your hands

Belgium’s flu epidemic is the worst that doctors have seen in several years, Flanders News reports. The number of patients consulting their GPs this week is 700 per 100,000 population, 100 more than a week ago.

KU Leuven virologist Marc Van Ranst told Flanders News that we are in week nine of the epidemic, which means numbers should be falling. But that there appears to be no end in sight, he said.

In Belgium, flu shots are not done by pharmacists and not everyone can get one. Doctors tend to prescribe shots to the most vulnerable patients such as children, the elderly and the chronically ill.

Belgium’s Scientific Institute of Public Health says that the single most crucial thing people can do to avoid spreading the flu is to wash their hands several times throughout the day. This not only helps avoid passing on a virus you might have but protects you from getting the flu if you have touched an infected object, such as a doorknob. The institute specifically mentions that people should wash their hands after using public transport.

Photo: Ingimage