Number of flu patients increasing rapidly


The number of flu patients rapidly increased by 550,000 people during the first week of February, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Monday.

In the week to Feb 7, hospitals nationwide had reported 1,870,000 flu patients, the institute said.

The epidemic is spreading mainly around the Kanto region and Kyushu, and this is beyond the warning level issued by the center in 40 prefectures, TBS reported. The greatest number of patients per medical institution is 68.98 patients in Okinawa, followed by 60.03 in Oita and 56.08 in Miyazaki.

The flu is continuing to spread mainly among children. The number of patients categorised by age group showed that 690,000 in the 0-9 age group have contracted the flu, while there are 340,000 patients in the 10-19 age range.

The institute is advising people to get their flu shots, wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, and practice general preventative measures in an effort to ward off further flu outbreaks until at least the end of February.

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Maybe some schools need to close for a day or two to contain this.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It seem a little late for a flu shot, should have been done 6 months ago. There is also a lag period for the vaccine to be effect. It doesn't hurt to have it but if people got the shot earlier, there may not be an issue now, especially young kids. It doesn't help that Japanese homes aren't well insulated nor have a central heating system. It would also be nice to know what kind of flu.... heard that stomach flu is on the rise.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

practice general preventative measures

Does this mean

a) Preventing the spread of the virus by staying at home when you get taken sick?


b) Putting on a ceremonial mask and dragging your infection through the public transport system and into your place of business?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

ka_chanFeb. 11, 2014 - 10:00AM JST It would also be nice to know what kind of flu.... heard that stomach flu is on the rise.

Stomach flu isn't an actual condition, just like the Japanese calling everything that knocks you down for a few days a "cold". Bouts of vomiting are usually caused by rota or noro virus.

However, running to the clinic with influenza is an excellent way to propagate infection and catch a few other bugs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Masks won't help! (It's just one more way to hide a face))) It's pretty weird to see people driving cars alone in masks etc.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

People don't wear masks to protect themselves from infections but to limit the spread of their coughing and protect themselves from dry winter air.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Magnus - you'd be surprised. The majority of Japanese I know believe these masks are some kind of magic talisman against infection. My wife has been anointing our perfectly healthy kid with one every morning for weeks "because many influenza".

She also thinks you catch a cold from feeling cold, and that a room-temperature room is cold, but that's another matter.

It's remarkable that people can't understand that you should stay at home when you're sick.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

If I am on a crowded train, I would LOVE for everyone to have a mask on!! I hate having some slob next to me on the crowded Chuo, Yamanote, etc..sneezing and coughing and having their bugs flying all over the crowded train!! This goes not only for Japanese but for all NON Japanese too! And here you can get those pocket tissues for free in front of any train station but you have pigs with their snots dripping down their dirty noses on the crowded trains!! One strange high school kid too close to me on the Chuo line, saw that I was getting pissed off at him for slurpping up his boogers in the train and he had the bright idea of wiping his boogers on the sleeve of his OWN SHIRT!! Never saw this before but I just wanted to give him a bunch of tissues, be nice if they were given out with masks in the trains here in Japan during the winter! So stay clean and try not to catch the FLU etc...

2 ( +5 / -4 )

A lot of people here in The States have had the flu, but it seems to be ebbing now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When is Japan - and other countries - are going to organize widespread vaccination campaign? I am voiceless every year I read these insanities when an efficient counter measure is available since decades. Pathetic!

250,000 - 500,000 deaths every years worldwide! Who can believe it?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why do people feel the need to run to a hospital when they have the flu? They know they are sick and have the flu so why rush to the hospital when really, there is nothing they can do for you but tell you to go home and rest?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@KnowBetter (and some others) - one reason why people end up going to the clinic/hospital with flu is because many companies, and most if not all schools, require you to consult with a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms (or a fever and someone else in your household is known to have the flu). Often people will be going there hoping to get an 'all clear' so they can return to work in a day or two but if they get a positive flu diagnosis, they are out for several days (schools 5 days from diagnosis, for example) regardless of what symptoms remain.

Kids brings stuff home from school all the time and schools seem to close down class by class, which seems silly to me when they can all mingle during break time anyway...

However, bearing all this in mind, I was quite disgusted to see a shopper not even raise her hand and simply sneeze full throttle all over the 'souzai corner' in my local supermarket this week. Sure, everything is in loosely closed plastic cases but I was still glad I had finished picking mine out 30 seconds earlier...gross...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

KnowBetterFeb. 12, 2014 - 07:40AM JST Why do people feel the need to run to a hospital when they have the flu? They know they are sick and have the flu so why rush to the hospital when really, there is nothing they can do for you but tell you to go home and rest?

Also people are quite often prescribed antibiotics for what is nearly guaranteed to be viral infections. (Not at all a Japan exclusive problem though)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One reason people go to the doctor when they suspect they have the flu is to be prescribed antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza- never heard of them?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Elbuda - I know exactly how you feel. The morbid fascination people have with the contents of their sinus cavities never ceases to enliven my commute.

This morning I was crammed on a train, and four of my fellow passengers were coughing and sneezing all over the place. Two were wearing masks, one used his newspaper as an antiviral shield every time he shouted his sneezes out, and the last one just coughed in the general direction of his phone.

The phone user looked the least ill of the bunch, and the two mask-wearers (sweaty, pale, shivering) looked the most dreadful.

But it doesn't matter that any of them were or were not wearing a mask. None of them should have been on public transport. They were acting as vectors of disease. That is the opposite of "taking preventative measures".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's true that the most common way the influenza virus are spread is via hand-to-hand-contact. However, being exposed to a virus doesn't mean that your destined to get the flu. If your immune system is operating at its peak, it should be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without even getting sick. On the other hand if your immune system is impaired they can easily take hold in your body. Thus if you catch the flu, the reason is that your immune system is impaired and it's not an inevitable event based on exposure alone. Therefore nutritional interventions with some well-chosen supplements including lifestyle strategies like exercising regularly with plenty of high-quality sleep should help you to strengthen and optimize your overall resistance to promote a flu-free existence. Of course there are no guarantees but that's probably about the best you can do besides getting the flu vaccine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

KnowBetter、they've been doing it for a pretty long time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wear mittens while commuting to avoid contact with possibly infection-laden surfaces, and of course to keep my hands warm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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