France remains in epidemic state for flu as death toll rises to 72

France remains in epidemic state for flu as death toll rises to 72
Photo: AFP/ Santé Publique France
France remains officially in epidemic for seasonal flu as thousands fall sick. In total 72 people have died since the outbreak began.

Coronavirus might be hogging the headlines again, but in France normal seasonal flu is proving far more deadly.

France has been in a state of influenza epidemic since the start of February. Latest figures from Santé publique France show that every region of the country is in epidemic level of the illness, with 175 people per 100,000 of the population falling sick.

But with both the number of new cases and the number of hospitalisations falling, public health experts believe the flu has now peaked. All regions of France remain at epidemic level, apart from the greater Paris Île-de-France area which is now post-epidemic.

READ ALSO Coronavirus in France – what you need to know

Map: Santé Publique France

Since the start of the outbreak in November, 724 people have been admitted to intensive care with flu and 72 of them have died.

These include 10 children under 15 years of age, 30 cases aged 15-64 and 32 cases aged 65 years and older.
The average age of these serious cases is 52 years and 74 percent of them had risk factors for complications (over 65 years of age, chronic illnesses, etc). Among the latter, three-quarters were not vaccinated against influenza (among those whose vaccination status was known).
Every year seasonal flu affects between two and six million people in France and last year 9,500 people died from it.
Health officials advise people to practice normal good hygiene – washing hands regularly, using disposable tissues and throwing them away if you have a cough and coughing into your elbow. Those who are sick are advised to wear a disposable face mask to help avoid spreading the illness.
You can also still take the flu vaccine if you have not already – it is available in France from doctors and some pharmacies.

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