Joan Collins
THE incidence of flu cases rose significantly in the Balearics during the third week of January, with 15.33 cases for every 100'000 residents, very much higher than the 6.03 average during the second week of the month, according to sources from the Balearic Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs. Traditionally the first two weeks of January are always the critical period with the greatest incidence of cases of flu.
However this year, partly due to mild temperatures as opposed to very cold temperatures last January, the situation was seen as being better.
During the third week of January 2005, the Balearics reached a level of 210 cases for every 100'000 residents, with hospitals full to 98 percent of their capacity. In 2006 this has dropped to 90 percent, the normal level for the whole year, according to the same sources from the Ministry.
During the second week in January the whole of Spain had 30.63 cases of flu per 100'000 residents.
With regard to the intensity of flu in the rest of Europe, it remains at the normal level for this time of year.
However, the exception is Holland where it is more than twice the normal level.
In the first week of January there were sporadic outbreaks in Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, France, Italy, Holland, Norway, Scotland, Slovakia and Sweden. To date, of the total cases detected in all parts of Europe, 53 percent were type B and 47 percent type A. Also, there have not been any cases bird flu notified (H5N1 virus) in any of the 28 countries participating in the European Alert Network. This highlights, however, the 18 cases of bird flu which have been confirmed in Turkey. These were cases of humans infected by the H5N1 virus, the virus which is a forerunner of bird flu. Three of these confirmed cases have subsequently died.

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