Dutch bout of the flu worsens

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

23 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — The flu epidemic in the Netherlands has worsened in the past week, rising from 15 to 27 cases per 10,000 people, the National Influenza Centre (NIC) said on Wednesday.

23 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — The flu epidemic in the Netherlands has worsened in the past week, rising from 15 to 27 cases per 10,000 people, the National Influenza Centre (NIC) said on Wednesday.

The southern Dutch provinces of Zeeland, North Brabant and Limburg are the hardest hit, with 67 people per 10,000 residents currently ill with the flu virus.

It is relatively better in the provinces of North and South Holland, where there are 19 people sick per 10,000 residents, while in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe the figure is 20. The other provinces have 15 sick people per 10,000.

It was reported last Friday that the Netherlands was officially in the midst of a flu epidemic, which is declared when the critical mass of 15 sick people per 10,000 is reached.

Well-known virologist Ab Osterhaus said the actual number of people who are ill would probably be much higher. But because they do not go the doctor, they are not registered in official figures.

Besides children aged four or under, people aged between 45 and 65 and those aged 65 or more are being hit in large numbers by the epidemic, news agency ANP reported.

Most cases of flu in the past week have been caused by the influenza virus A/H3. This type, the Californian variant, is different to the type combated by the flu vaccination, namely the Wellington variant.

The preventative effect of the vaccination was therefore probably reduced. The NCI said the increase in the number of sick people aged above 45 could be linked back to the emergence of the new variant.

Health authorities had said last week they expected the influenza epidemic to spread further across the country.

The Netherlands is not alone in suffering from a bout of the flu. The number of cases in Belgium and Switzerland has also increased, while the numbers of ill residents in Spain and Portugal has started to decline recently.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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