STAFF REPORTER

THE incidence of flu in the Balearic Islands remains well below the national average, the official Disease Watch Network reported yesterday.
During the seven days from 23rd to 29th January, said its most recent report made available through the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid, there were 154.9 cases of flu for every 100'000 head of population in the Balearics, whilst the national figure was 203.84 cases for every 100'000 inhabitants.

Findings further showed that since last October, there have been 909 cases of people with flu who needed hospitalisation across the country.
The Health Institute confirmed that 91 percent of the hospital admissions were as a result of people suffering from the A/H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu. At least 78 percent of people who were hospitalised during this period have died from the effects of the A/H1N1 virus which was responsible for an epidemic two years ago.

Health ministry sources reported that even though 75 percent of the hospital cases fell within risk groups (people already suffering from chronic disease or obesity, along with pregnant women and those over 60 years of age), 80 percent of them had failed to have preventive vaccinations which were offered by the national health service last autumn.

There are more cases of serious cases of flu in men (59 percent of the total) but 36 women have been admitted to hospital, 70 percent of them more than 24 weeks pregnant.

In terms of the age of flu victims, 15 percent of the most serious cases have been detected in minors under 15 years of age, although more than half the total number of cases (68%) were found in people aged between 15 and 64.

On a positive note, in terms of the incidence of flu at a national level, the 23rd to 29th January (203.84 cases) was the second consecutive week when the virus has shown signs of retreating. The previous week had registered 226.9 cases per 100'000 head of population.

The region which has been most affected by the flu during the last week of January has been the Canary Islands (495.9 cases per 100'000), whilst those below the national average included the Balearic Islands (154.9) and Castilla y Leon (114.9).