Influenza `epidemic' downgraded

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The Independent Online
New influenza figures suggest some regional epidemics but no national epidemic of flu or flu-like illness, according to the latest survey.

The Royal College of General Practitioners' monitoring unit in Birmingham says there are now 230 cases per 100,000 of the population. The previous week's figure - for Christmas and New Year - was 122 per 100,000, but this was artificially low because GP surgeries were closed for the holiday. Dr Douglas Fleming, director of the unit, said the present rate was "within the range of usual winter activity". A flu epidemic has recently been redefined as more than 400 per 100,000 cases per population. Liz Hunt