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Flu virus hits the older age group 

 

People within the age group of 45 to 64 have been most hit by the flu virus in the Canary Islands this year.

In the 2011/2012 season, children under the age of 15 were the most affected but the emphasis appears to have changed to the older generation.

Of all the flu cases reported, 29% were in the 45-64 years of age group, followed by 17% in those over the age of 64. In 68% of the cases, the influenza suffered was virus type B.

As expected, the flu virus is at epidemic proportions in the Canary Islands but has proved even worse than last year.

The latest set of statistics showed that the incidence rate in the archipelago was 295 cases per 100,000 population. This is ten per cent higher than the peak recorded last season which stood at 269 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Doctors were expecting the numbers to increase even further in the archipelago before March.

It is being stressed that people must have a vaccination if they have one or more additional risk factors, such as heart disease. At least two people living in the Canaries have died because of complications and a third elsewhere in Spain. All three were men, one of them in the 45-64 year age group and the other over 64.

The most affected region is Aragon, followed by Catalonia, Asturias, Valencia, the Basque Country and then the Canaries.

Since the start of the season, at least 63 people from eleven communities needed to be sent to hospital because of severe complications, of which 59% were men.

The Canary Islands were amongst the areas affected when the first batch of flu vaccinations had to be sent back because of a fault. This delayed the vaccination programme and has probably contributed to the increase in flu cases as had been predicted by doctors.