Expatica news

Flu grips Belgium

10 February 2005

BRUSSELS – Flu is taking hold in Belgium this winter, with cases confirmed in every region of the country.

The epidemic is affecting children and young people in particular.

The flu outbreak will last for the next two weeks but will be less severe than last year, said Marc Van Ranst, from the virology department of Louvain university.

The number of cases is set to rise, possibly taking a turn for the worse when the schools go back after half term holidays.

However, Van Ranst said he did not believe the number of flu cases would exceed 10 percent of doctors’ consultations.

An epidemic is reached when 3 to 4 percent of all patients going to the doctor complain of flu.

Doctors report that the current rate is 5 percent.

The epidemic has struck late this year, although flu has been circulating in Belgium since mid-December.

The late arrival of the epidemic, coinciding with the school holidays, makes experts believed it can be more easily contained this year.

Other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis have also reached epidemic proportions.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news