Killer Flu to hit britain says the Daily Express

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Daily Express
By Lucy Elkins Exclusive

BRITAIN is facing one of its worst winter flu ­outbreaks in years, according to the ­country’s leading expert on the virus.

Professor John Oxford said a big leap in cases in Australia in recent months points to what is likely to happen here.

Many Britons have little immunity after two years of relatively limited outbreaks.

Despite this, the Department of Health last week announced there would be no high-profile flu awareness campaign this winter.

Public health leaders have condemned the inaction as “irresponsible” and “naive”.

Professor Oxford, a virologist at Barts and The London School of Medicine and ­Dentistry, is a world-renowned expert on flu. He warned that the disease posed a threat to everyone, not just high-risk groups.

He said: “I go to Australia every summer to monitor what’s going on and it was pretty bad – hospitals were filling up.

Many Britons have little immunity after two years of relatively limited outbreaks

“No one is sure why our patterns of flu tend to follow what happens in the southern hemisphere during the summer but it does.

“Unfortunately in Australia there has been a sharp outbreak with higher than normal numbers of flu strains A and B.

“The chances are the same will happen here.

“We won’t know until a bit later into the year when flu levels start to peak – which generally happens when the weather gets colder and people start to ­congregate indoors more.”

In Australia, the Department of Health and Ageing said flu levels had been “above the peak frequency experienced in previous years”.

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