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Stomach flu epidemic 'set to worsen' in France

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Areas in red are seeing 300 gastro cases per 100,000 residents. Photo: Sentinelles de l'Inserm
10:58 CET+01:00
Doctors and researchers have predicted that the current "gastro" epidemic in France will soar as the end of the month approaches.
If you're feeling a bit under the weather in France, you're far from alone. 
 
The Sentinelles de l'Inserm, an online network of general practitioners and researchers, has announced that the gastroenteritis levels in France have been at "epidemic level" for two weeks. 
 
Gastroenteritis or stomach flu, which many French refer to as 'gastro,' is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a bacterial or viral infection that typically results in vomiting and diarrhoea. 
 
The incidence rate of acute diarrhoea reported by French GPs has been at 219 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which is above the epidemic threshold of 194 cases per 100,000. 
 
The worst-hit areas are Languedoc-Roussillon (which had 389 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), Nord-Pas-de-Calais (with 380) and Champagne-Ardenne (with 363).
 
The average ago of the patients was 23, with 48 percent of them males. 
 
Researchers predicted that the level of activity of acute diarrhea should continue to rise for the rest of the month, according to the forecast model based on historical data (see graph below).
 

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This means France could see rates doubling to around 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the next few days. 
 
The report added that the strain of the sickness wasn't too serious, with just 0.4 percent of all reported cases requiring treatment in hospital. 

Wash your hands!

Health officials say the best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid contact with dirty hands. However, if you can’t avoid touching others, make sure to disinfect your hands quickly.

If you do get sick, the most important thing is to remain hydrated and avoid eating foods that are high in fibre.

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