Flu season begins

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced Dec. 1st that the seasonal flu epidemic has started, a little earlier than average.

According to the ministry, the number of people with influenza reported by 5,000 medical institutions throughout Japan between Nov. 20th and 26th stood at 1.47 per institution, which exceeds the normally prevalent 1.

Okinawa had the most patients per medical institution at 4.88, followed by Nagasaki at 4.47, Ehime at 3.39, Miyazaki at 3.20, and Ishikawa at 3.08.

Among the cases, type A virus was the most common during the last five weeks.

The ministry says that the vaccine production is delayed this year, and leading officials to restrict the vaccination to one dose for persons over 13 years of age. It also urges people to wear a flu mask on when they develop cough or sneeze.