Worst Outbreak in 50 years: Aussie flu has spread to FIVE more UK towns in the past 24Hrs
The deadly ‘Aussie flu’ virus has spread to five more UK towns in the past 24 hours as it moves rapidly across the country.
Perthsire, Inverness, Preston, Glasgow and Midlothian – previously untouched – have now all reported cases of the dangerous new H3N2 strain of Influenza A.
The NHS is braced for one of the worst flu seasons in 50 years after a surge in infections in the UK, with hotspots being Plymouth, Doncaster and Belfast.
Areas unaffected by the flu are rapidly diminishing, with only Dorchester, the Brecon Beacons area, Telford, Dartford and the City of London having no reported cases.
However, the online FluSurvey map, which updates every three minutes, relies on self-reported data from patients, meaning the true figure is likely to be much higher.
Plymouth has been hit the hardest, with 14 new cases in the past three weeks, according to Public Health England figures.
At least 1,649 people have been struck down by the potentially deadly strain in England and Wales within a week over the Christmas period.
A further 112 patients were admitted to non-emergency hospital wards – an increase from a mere five the week before.
Some 17 people in England and Wales were admitted to intensive care in the past week, according to a government report.
And fears of fatalities have been growing after the lethal virus claimed its first victims in Ireland.
Experts fear the virulent flu strain could prove as deadly to humanity as the Hong Kong flu in 1968, which killed one million people.
Flu kills an average of 8,000 people every year in England and Wales, but experts previously warned that this number could rise significantly if the Aussie flu struck.
Some 55,000 operations have been cancelled as hospitals struggle to cope with a surge in patients.
Doctors are cancelling holidays and working late into the night to try to manage the demand after being told to keep patients out of hospitals as the NHS struggles.
The soaring cases, which jumped by 48 per cent over the space of a week, has been blamed for adding extra pressure onto an already stretched health service.