national

No. of flu patients nationwide tops 1.7 million

52 Comments

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases says that the number of flu patients nationwide topped 1.7 million in the week ending Jan 31.

The institute said its figures are estimates based on data sent by 5,000 medical institutions across the country at regular intervals. The data show that about 50% of patients were infected with the H1N1 virus; 30% had contracted the type B virus, while 20% were found to have been infected by the A strain of the virus, known in Japan as the “Hong Kong” strain, Fuji TV reported.

The prefectures with the highest numbers of flu patients were Niigata (with an average of 39.44 infected persons per medical center), followed by Okinawa (34.29), Fukuoka (31.88), Kanagawa (31.64) and Saitama (30.3).

The numbers were higher in 28 prefectures, the institute said.

The institute said it is expecting the epidemic to continue until late February.

Citizens are being advised to wear protective face masks when in public areas, receive flu shots and thoroughly wash their hands. In particular, schools and facilities for the elderly across Japan are promoting a flu prevention campaign.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

52 Comments
Login to comment

Citizens are being advised to wear protective face masks

Which act as a talisman, a symbolic gesture of protection. As we can see by the fact that we have a flu epidemic here every year, they do nothing to prevent transmission of influenza.

and thoroughly wash their hands

And there's the rub. But given that many chaps in my office give the tips of their fingers a ceremonial sprinkle of water at best after using the lavatory, don't expect much to be done in this area.

Tune in this time next year for precisely the same report of a well-paid taskforce of government bureaucrats spouting "Please wear a mask" and pretending it's keeping us healthy.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Down here seems like flu season runs 365 days a year, well 366 this year.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

stay home and rest

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You do not want to get this in Japan. The meds are a joke. I was nearly passing out in pain and dizzy when trying to walk (to the toilet etc.). Japan needs to take medicine seriously and not just give sample sizes.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I say this after 5 days in bed with this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

5 days!? I was done & dusted with type A within 36 hours. Was quite debilitating though I have to admit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Citizens are being advised to wear protective face masks when in public areas, receive flu shots and thoroughly wash their hands. In particular, schools and facilities for the elderly across Japan are promoting a flu prevention campaign.

Face masks do nothing and flu shots are as fake as the company that produces them. Washing your hands is effective as long as you keep your fingers out of your eyes and nose. The flu virus is spread by contact and the virus is only contagious in the first 24 hours. Just wash your hands and leave the face masks to the brainwashed minions.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

If they want these kids to wash their hands in school, give them warm water. I don't blame kids for skipping putting their hands in a soapy ice bath while they wear skirts and shorts in an unheated hallway. I wouldn't wash my hands either except the staff room has hot water.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@ WarwickNchuaa

Citizens are being advised to wear protective face masks Which act as a talisman, a symbolic gesture of protection. As we can see by the fact that we have a flu epidemic here every year, they do nothing to prevent transmission of influenza.

As long as most people don't wear masks (and almost none wear it properly) the presence of epidemics indicate nothing about mask efficacy. The same can be said about the hand washing, so according to you Washing your hands is also a talisman? Studies have demonstrated a big role on proper use of mask on reducing the transmission of flu and other respiratory viruses, with and independently of other preventive measures.

@Disillusioned

Face masks do nothing and flu shots are as fake as the company that produces them.

Citations needed since your affirmation runs contrary to reported evidence, unless you want to affirm this solely on your own authority. Source also needed about the efficacy of flu-shots and how a single company managed to make all the shots of the world (or are now all companies fake?)

Dismissing proven measures of prevention just because they are not used properly or because they are not 100% effective (after all, nothing is) is a disservice to public heath, especially when your opinion runs contrary to scientific knowledge. Its the same as the people that don't wash their hands saying its useless since people still get sick all the time.

There is a reason why health professionals do use masks when dealing with patients, I think that on opposite opinions on this topic the professionals that risk their lives have a tiny little bit more credibility.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Chicv - Citations needed since your affirmation runs contrary to reported evidence, unless you want to affirm this solely on your own authority.

According to the WHO faces must masks must be 12 ply surgical masks and changed every twenty minutes. These paper masks that people wear are nothing more than dust masks and, as noted above, people do not wear the properly. In fact, these paper masks create a fantastic warm and moist environment for viruses to thrive. The saliva in your mouth is a natural antibacterial. And, about the flu shots, again according to the WHO, over 50% of all flu shot recipients still get the flu.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Citations needed since your affirmation runs contrary to reported evidence, unless you want to affirm this solely on your own authority.

Oh hell, look at the masks people use here, you know the one's from the 100 yen shop. Those have about as much of a chance of stopping the spread of the flu virus as me getting a sex change operation.

Sure they will work if you use the anti-viral spray on them, or you could purchase the surgical masks, which cost a hell of a lot more. Masks are pretty much useless for stopping one from catching anything, but they are somewhat helpful for someone who already has an illness and it stops, to a degree, the germs from being spread by open sneezing and coughing that often accompanies an illness.

Of course my comments are heresay, but take for what it's worth, I worked in a hospital group from nearly a decade and had a neurosurgeon tell me what I shared here. I'll take his word over your "reported evidence".

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

And there's the rub. But given that many chaps in my office give the tips of their fingers a ceremonial sprinkle of water at best after using the lavatory, don't expect much to be done in this area.

Bingo

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And there's the rub. But given that many chaps in my office give the tips of their fingers a ceremonial sprinkle of water at best after using the lavatory, don't expect much to be done in this area.

Interesting comment! Are you implying that men spread the flu by touching their willies?

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@ Disillusioned

according to the WHO faces must masks must be 12 ply surgical masks and changed every twenty minutes.

I failed to find this recommendation anywhere but in the specific case of Healthcare workers in constant and prolonged exposure to both infected and uninfected patients, something of course totally different from community prevention of influenza. Obviously using a N95 respirator is better than a 12ply mask, and a 12ply is better than a 3ply mask (also known as surgical mask), but the important part is that a 3ply mask is still much better than no mask at all.

Its somewhat a heavy reading but this helps understanding better the differences. http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2009/10/14/n95/

These paper masks that people wear are nothing more than dust masks and, as noted above, people do not wear the properly.

No, they are very different from gauze masks and much more effective. Also people do not wash hands properly, so washing hands is useless right?

n fact, these paper masks create a fantastic warm and moist environment for viruses to thrive.

In fact is the opposite, the only enviroment where viruses thrive is inside living cells, a warm and moist environment only cause respiratory viruses to quickly inactivate and become harmless by facilitating ubiquitous enzymes activity.

The saliva in your mouth is a natural antibacterial.

But surprise suprise, viruses and bacteria are not even close to the same thing, I understand now your huge confusion about what makes viruses live and die. Once again for clarity, Viruses are NOT bacteria, and saliva have no antiviral effect.

about the flu shots, again according to the WHO, over 50% of all flu shot recipients still get the flu.

That depends strongly on the year and the ability of the predominant strain to develop an escape mutant against the antibodies recognizing the predicted antigen of the virus. This year's numbers are not even close to being known so the vaccine could very well be above the 90% preventive rate as has happened several times before. And of course the incidence of the disease is only one of the important parameters that shift after vaccination, a vaccine can still be successful if it can reduce the risk of lethal complications or the number of productivity days lost to the disease. Unless you have these numbers your affirmation is based on air only.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Ah, chikv, you have proven without a doubt you are just an argumentative person who has nothing better to do than to argue every point I made. However, all of that crap you have written lacks any evidence to the contrary. :P

0 ( +0 / -0 )

to being known so the vaccine could very well be above the 90% preventive rate as has happened several times before

Here in Japan the flu vaccine is not a preventative vaccination. The only preventative vaccination for the flu is to use an active flu virus, which is not used here.

The vaccination used here is a "dead" virus, and while it does not prevent the flu, it helps the recipient in recovering faster and lessening the symptoms typically associated with the virus.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@Yubaru

Oh hell, look at the masks people use here, you know the one's from the 100 yen shop. Those have about as much of a chance of stopping the spread of the flu virus as me getting a sex change operation.

All the mask I see on the conbini are at least 3-ply, those are much better than not using a mask so still quite cost-effective, I am sure that there must be totally ineffective mask around, but the "normal" kind are still good enough to be useful (check for yourself the mask given to nurses and doctors in a hospital if you have a chance, they are also 3-ply).

Sure they will work if you use the anti-viral spray on them, or you could purchase the surgical masks, which cost a hell of a lot more.

The anti-viral spray is most of the time the actually ineffective one (together with the "antivirus-filters"), and the masks sold on conbini stores are surgical masks, most of the mask used in a hospital are actually cheaper and many times even thinner (bought on the box to reduce costs)

Masks are pretty much useless for stopping one from catching anything, but they are somewhat helpful for someone who already has an illness and it stops, to a degree, the germs from being spread by open sneezing and coughing that often accompanies an illness.

I wonder from where people get this mistaken idea, mask act as a barrier for both sides, if you are sick they work better than sneezing into the air but worse than not leaving your house, if you are healthy they work much better than sucking the pseudo-aerosols full of virus in the train but obviously less effective than a full respirator combined with a face shield. The point is that they are on the good side of the cost-effect equation, they do help preventing disease as long as people train for 5 minutes in the correct use.

I worked in a hospital group from nearly a decade and had a neurosurgeon tell me what I shared here. I'll take his word over your "reported evidence".

But I bet your neurosurgeon still used mask during surgery, and he is not even sick. I will take the word of a neurosurgeon over a infectologist or a virologist if we are talking about the prognosis of a brain tumor, if we are talking about influenza the neurosurgeon is hopelessly outside of his field of expertise and not much better than a medical student specially when he has the opposite opinion of the national institute of infectious diseases. That without going into the that specific neurosurgeon, before, there was a user here with a friend doctor that still believed that viruses fly around by themselves, something not even understandable from somebody that passed high-school level biology.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

chik.....believe what you want to believe, make sure you wash your hands though.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

gogogoFeb. 08, 2016 - 08:35AM JST I say this after 5 days in bed with this.

You do realize meds don't cure the flu right? Go to bed and soldier through it. While talking about the flu though, this year I haven't heard much talk about vaccines, they usually ship us out to get a jab at work in December.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

chik.....believe what you want to believe, make sure you wash your hands though.

Its not a belief, that is the point, its an informed opinion based on data that can be tested and examined, Evidence.

For example your previous comment:

Here in Japan the flu vaccine is not a preventative vaccination. The only preventative vaccination for the flu is to use an active flu virus, which is not used here. The vaccination used here is a "dead" virus, and while it does not prevent the flu, it helps the recipient in recovering faster and lessening the symptoms typically associated with the virus.

Its easily proven false, Vaccines do not work that way and the effect of the vaccine (to avoid only serious complications or all the symptoms) depend on many other things and the type of vaccine may or not have an impact.

Polio vaccine for example can be attenuated (live) or inactivated (killed) but both are directed to be preventive of the disease (including the bening forms), there are many other kind of inactivated vaccines directed to prevent all symptoms, from Rabies to Japanese Encephalitis or Pertussis. You don't even need the whole virus to prevent the disease, the Hepatitis B vaccine for example is made with purified proteins but that is enough to prevent the hepatitis symptoms.

The influenza vaccine is made for preventing the disease itself, not only the complications. Depending on the year this objective can be reached or not, but not because the vaccine contains live or dead viruses but because other factors (strain virulence, variability, sensitivity to immunity different from antibodies, etc.)

If you insist on believing something in spite of evidence I cannot force you to stop, but if people are interested in the best available evidence in order to see what should they do, its always better to see what the best specialist say and what evidence they have to say it. In this case normal masks are a useful tool to prevent the spreading of influenza, they may not be perfect (especially when used wrong) but they have proven value, same as washing hands, resting and so on.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Its not a belief, that is the point, its an informed opinion based on data that can be tested and examined, Evidence.

By cherry picking posts, and here is all I have to say in reply to everything you wrote and I'll use a quote from a rather wise person, "If you can't baffle 'em with your brilliance then blind them with your bull". And you certainly seem to fit the bill.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Flu is a virus not a bacteria. There are no meds to cure it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Interesting comment! Are you implying that men spread the flu by touching their willies?

There is plenty of documented evidence to show that washing your hands reduces the spread of the flu. Naturally after using the toilet would be a logical place. As has been frequently mentioned before, a token splash of the fingers seems to be the best one can hope for

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Yubaru

By cherry picking posts, and here is all I have to say in reply to everything you wrote and I'll use a quote from a rather wise person, "If you can't baffle 'em with your brilliance then blind them with your bull". And you certainly seem to fit the bill.

Cherry picking would be quoting only parts of a statement to change its meaning and I have specifically quoted only full paragraphs, It could also mean to choose only rare examples in order to make a false generalization of data, but I instead of quoting part of my source I gave the link to the full text. So, could you tell me what is my cherry picking?

Also, do you consider anything you cannot refute as bull? If a wise person notices that he can't prove any of his opponents arguments as false he may want to consider that it was his opponent and not himself the one right from the beginning. I myself am not wise at all but I have changed opinion frequently when somebody has solid arguments against me (at least better than "that's bull").

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@chikv I'd give up on trying to persuade Yubaru if I were you, he's just never going to get it. Bold attempt though and some good info

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Flu is a virus not a bacteria. There are no meds to cure it.

Well, I got Influenza last year and the doctor gave me something that you breath in a long one shot and believe it or not, I was cured after 3 days, it was pretty efficient.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The problem with masks is the talismanic effect. Japanese people appear to think that if they wear a cheap bit of gauze, they can continue to work with influenza and not spread it. This is (of course) total rubbish. The country is full of people who go to work knowing they are sick and deliberately spread their illnesses. Without the mask, they would probably not do this, making the mask one of the main causes of the annual epidemics. Posters can say masks are better than nothing, and all things being equal they might be. But when you understand that Japanese culture thrives on appearances and that turning up to work sick as a dog wearing a silly bit of gauze is seen as being a good thing, this epidemic will happen every year. The proof that masks are basically useless is the fact that despite their prevalence, there is a flu epidemic every year. You can blame the user, incorrect use etc., but it doesn't change the fact that there is always a flu epidemic despite the hefty mask use. Government advice should be that everyone who feels sick should stay home and that companies should supply paid sick days. They don't though, so sick people want to go to work or they lose their limited annual leave. The policy is therefore "wear a mask", which does little to stop the spread and helps encourage sick people to go out into public places, making the advice utterly stupid.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Disillusioned: And there's the rub. But given that many chaps in my office give the tips of their fingers a ceremonial sprinkle of water at best after using the lavatory, don't expect much to be done in this area. Interesting comment! Are you implying that men spread the flu by touching their willies?

No, by not washing their hands.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ClippetyClop: Yep rest of the family was 24 hour deal, not me!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

5 days!? I was done & dusted with type A within 36 hours. Was quite debilitating though I have to admit.

The exact same thing happened to me last week, and now I'm confused: at the time I assumed it was a cold (albeit one without any coughing), but now I highly suspect it was a hit-and-run flu virus.

Anyway, I sure wish people would mind their hygiene practices, especially in the WCs. Soap, hot water, and paper towels would be nice, too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@hampton

You can blame the user, incorrect use etc., but it doesn't change the fact that there is always a flu epidemic despite the hefty mask use. Government advice should be that everyone who feels sick should stay home and that companies should supply paid sick days. They don't though, so sick people want to go to work or they lose their limited annual leave. The policy is therefore "wear a mask", which does little to stop the spread and helps encourage sick people to go out into public places, making the advice utterly stupid.

But exactly the same can be said about all others measures (including washing your hands) so I still don't understand why single one single as if it was different. I mean, epidemics every year are then also proof that washing your hands is also basically useless, righ? Both things have zero value when done wrong, and both can help people stay healthy even when exposed daily to sick commuters, but somehow people feel very comfortable dismissing one and supporting the other.

Are you sick? washing your hands or using a mask are not going to be as effective to contain your infection as staying home. Are you healthy? washing your hands and wearing a mask are both very nice measures to avoid other people infecting you (when done properly), and depending on the year also the vaccine can give you a nice edge against the virus. You cannot force other people to rest in order to protect yourself (unless you are their boss) but you can do something to lower the risk, so why not do it?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

They don't though, so sick people want to go to work or they lose their limited annual leave. The policy is therefore "wear a mask", which does little to stop the spread and helps encourage sick people to go out into public places, making the advice utterly stupid.

Yes, this is unfortunately also true

1 ( +2 / -1 )

after TPP the drug companies will have a great business from influenza

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Citizen2012: Well, I got Influenza last year and the doctor gave me something that you breath in a long one shot and believe it or not, I was cured after 3 days, it was pretty efficient.

What was it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I lost faith in the efficacy of the Japanese healthcare system my first winter here. I developed bad flu-like symptoms and went to bed with a couple of pain meds. Next day I woke up fine with just a runny nose. I was forced to go to the hospital anyway. After getting a stick shoved up my nose, I was told I had the flu, (Though I was still showing no symptoms at the time) and was prescribed ANTIBIOTICS! For a virus! My symptoms never came back but I was forced on a week vacation...and let me tell you I made the most of that paid-vacation.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Turbo stat, it was either Tamiflu or Relenza, anti-viral drugs. It shortens the time you're sick by several days. It has to be taken when you first get sick, though. Tamiflu has adverse effects on teenagers ( paranoia, suicidal thoughts, irrational episodes) in susceptible teens, but there's no way to tell which are, so simply avoid it if you have any teen children.

The flu is contagious until the 5th day after the fever goes down, not just 24 hours, which is why kids are kept out of school.

Masks at least keep the spittle from sneezers and coughers who don't have the manners to cover their mouths from landing directly on me, so I'm in favor of them.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Masks at least keep the spittle from sneezers and coughers who don't have the manners to cover their mouths from landing directly on me, so I'm in favor of them.

I couldn't agree more. Another severe problem in Japan re. lack of etiquette in this area

2 ( +2 / -0 )

turbostat, sorry! The one you breathe in is Relenza. Tamiflu is yellow and white capsules that look like antibiotics. I missed the word 'breathe' in Citizen's post. Sorry for overlooking it, I was on my phone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@chikv I'd give up on trying to persuade Yubaru if I were you, he's just never going to get it. Bold attempt though and some good info

Good info? Like how they missed on the point that the japanese flu shot is not a preventative as they assume?

Get your information straight, flu shots, unless they use a live virus, DO NOT prevent the onset of the symptoms of the flu. THAT is a fact.

It lessens the symptoms and assists in a faster recovery.

Masks do little to prevent the spread, contrary to public (here) belief.

Folks are sucked into believing that masks help prevent the flu, and in a country where everyone seems to wear them, why pray tell is the virus so easily spread? Looks like SOMETHING isnt working, folks all over get the shots, folks all over wear masks, but still 1.7 MILLION people catch the flu......

Something about the spread of information is off.....

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Chicv gave a lot of information - you just seem to be saying 'you're wrong' Yubaru, and saying things without providing links to back it up.

I have no idea which of you is right, but something to show your claims are correct would be nice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To Himajin, thanks for the info.

To whoever is saying masks are not effective, a long time ago I read an article that said when you sneeze, the tiny droplets shrivel up into little dart shapes that can travel across a room. Did not find a supporting quote, but here is a description of what happens when you cough or sneeze:

http://www.livescience.com/3686-gross-science-cough-sneeze.html

Sneezing is even worse [than coughing] ... It starts at the back of the throat and produces even more droplets — as many as 40,000 — some of which rocket out at speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. The vast majority of the droplets are less than 100 microns across — the width of a human hair. Many of them are so tiny that they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Here is a picture of what comes out of a sneeze:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sneeze.JPG

A man mid-sneeze. Original CDC caption: "This 2009 photograph captured a sneeze in progress, revealing the plume of salivary droplets as they are expelled in a large cone-shaped array from this man’s open mouth, thereby dramatically illustrating the reason one needs to cover his/her mouth when coughing, or sneezing, in order to protect others from germ exposure."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yubaru

Your assertion that "masks don't assist in any material way to preventing influenza infections due to the fact that we still have regular influenza outbreaks, and thus we should all do away with wearing them all together and leave wearing them to the easily influenced and brainwashed (sic)" is akin to saying:

condoms don't assist in any material way to preventing HIV (or other sexually transmitted viruses for that matter) infections due to the fact that we still have HIV outbreaks, and thus we should all do away with wearing condoms all together and leave them to the easily influenced and brainwashed

@chikv has gone through and categorically presented a much more convincing argument than what you are forwarding. As a professional who's done quite a lot of work in infectious diseases myself I'd like to add some tidbits of knowledge to this topic but @chikv has already presented an argument that doesn't need much augmenting and if I do you'll start spewing quasi-philosophical notions about "brilliant bulls".

Do us all a favor and go have unprotected sex with an HIV positive person a number of times without a condom and come back one year later with your results. Oh wait, what's that? That would be idiotic? You don't say?

Finally, I added that last paragraph so that you didn't confuse my cordiality as the real thing. It's definitely "masking" a deeper disgust I feel towards those who speak while being uninformed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

1.7 Million out of 127 million run the end of the world is nigh.

My town(western Tokyo) has more residents than Japan has Flu patients.

If you don't like the vaccination don't go for it, simple as that. All that arguing pro and con gets boring very fast and ends up nowhere.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Right. Without stats on total vaccination rates, a flat number of infected tells us little about vaccine effectiveness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Flu-Shots are voluntary and come out of the persons pocket.

In my case I get the shots early every year no use waiting for the epidemic to hit, it is my body and my 3000Yen(unless you are lucky to get a coupon for 500Yen off).

And that is all I got to say on this topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We've been good; got paid-for flu shots

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Try spending 30 seconds washing your hands after the toilet (not 1 second), salarymen. Works wonders

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have talked to a few doctors and they all say that the mask does not work 100% but it is just a layer of protection that they hope will work. You know how it is here. If you look like you are doing something then everyone thinks you are doing something. In this case, if you wear a mask, you look like you are either sick and trying to protect others or you are trying to keep from getting sick. I have NOT ever worn a mask and I have not been sick in over five years now. Why? I eat fruites and vegetables every morning. Have not been sick in over five years now.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have talked to a few doctors and they all say that the mask does not work 100% but it is just a layer of protection that they hope will work. You know how it is here. If you look like you are doing something then everyone thinks you are doing something. In this case, if you wear a mask, you look like you are either sick and trying to protect others or you are trying to keep from getting sick. I have NOT ever worn a mask and I have not been sick in over five years now. Why? I eat fruites and vegetables every morning. Have not been sick in over five years now.

Well your anecdotal evidence has won me over. I now believe it more than scientific evidence and studies that say otherwise. Great anecdote!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites