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Increase in flu cases worrying authorities

Date Posted: 2007-07-12

A rash of influenza cases is sweeping Okinawa, and the numbers are of concern to medical authorities.

The Prefecture Health Promotion Section reports that 641 flu cases were logged at 24 hospitals and clinics in only a six-day period, well above the norm. The number of cases is significantly higher than a series of cases two years ago.

Doctors say it is worrisome that summertime influenza cases are popping up in large numbers, noting flu cases are normally confined to the winter months. Summer ailments typically are colds.

Six schools were closed during the June 25th~July 1st reporting period, with another six schools following suit last week. Ryukyu University Medical Section’s Jiro Fujita is concerned as well. The infectious disease professor says “We have never heard about summertime breakouts of influenza. Usually it becomes the trend in the winter.” The normal influenza period is October through March.

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