Japan’s flu season in full swing

The influenza season is officially in progress, with the Infectious Disease Surveillance Center noting that the average number of patients per clinic has already topped to 1.0 threshold.

The government agency says the flu season should, if it runs true to course, peak sometime in late January or early February.  The start to the season was right on time during the holiday season, with an average of 1.39 flu patients being reported at the 5,000 designated flu clinics the first week just before Christmas.

Type A Hong Kong strain is the most prevalent flu reported in the opening weeks of the season.  Medical officials say the flu cases are most in the western parts of Japan thus far.  Yamaguchi Prefecture reports 5.12 patients per clinic, while Kagoshima was close behind with 4.67 patients, Kochi with 3.92, Oita with 3.52 and Saga with 3.21.

To avoid the flu, or reduce chances of catching it, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is encouraging people to wash their hands more frequently, and to wear face masks when sick, to prevent infecting people they come in contact with.  Flu vaccines are recommended, but health officials remind people that typically it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to begin working.