Tokyo metropolitan government officials this week announced an official influenza epidemic alert within the metropolitan area -- the first time for such an alert to be issued in November since 2007.
The Tokyo government is anxious to avoid a repeat of last winter when the number of people infected with the influenza virus reached near epidemic levels, leading to a shortage of vaccine.
To prevent a recurrence this winter, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is requesting that people start getting vaccinations now within the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.
According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases, as of Nov 23, the national average number of infected influenza patients at medical centers across Japan reached 0.94 persons, only .06 points away from meeting epidemic levels, TBS reported Saturday.
The ministry 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.© Japan Today