Japan suffering from worst flu season in 10 years
Face masks are being seen everywhere in Japan at the peak of flu season, as the number of patients is increasing at the fastest pace in 10 years.
The number of patients who sought treatment at medical institutions subject to a survey stood at 42.62 on average in the latest week from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5. That was the highest at this time of the year since 2002.
The total number of flu patients in Japan is estimated to be about 2.11 million.
Starting this month, the number of patients who have contracted different types of flu strains is also increasing.
This influenza season features the spread of a Type A Hong Kong flu for the first time in five seasons. About 90 percent of patients were contracting that type of virus until January. From this month, however, patients that are suffering from a Type B influenza are also increasing in some areas.
“Antibodies that were gained as a result of infection are maintained for certain periods. As time passes, however, their effects wane. As a Type A Hong Kong flu is spreading after a long interval, people may have lost their immunities,” said Hideki Hasegawa, director of the Department of Pathology at National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID).
Because of the various types of strains, there is a growing fear that the current flu season will be a long-lasting one.