The ‘Aussie Flu’, also known as the H3N2 strain, has now been joined by Japanese or Yamagata flu, a strain which is said to be particularly contracted and spread by children.
Local media reports that it has spreading through it the Greater Manchester area of England, with parents of young children being urged to take up the annual flu vaccine, as the version of the vaccine given to children protects against the Japanese and Australian strain.
The vaccine given to pensioners and vulnerable patients (ie those with long term health conditions) protects against the Australian strain, but not the new Japanese one.
The Japanese flu is less severe than its Australian relative, but an increase in case could put pressure on NHS boards across the UK struggling to deal with winter crises.
Dr Steve Iley, Medical Director for Bupa UK told the Evening Standard: “Also known as Yamagata flu, Japanese flu is a strand of influenza.
“Symptoms are similar to other flu and may include a high temperature or fever along with coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. People can also experience muscle aches and pains along with exhaustion and fatigue.
“Symptoms will typically last for up to one week, but you can speed up your recovery by getting plenty of rest, while staying warm and hydrated. Ibuprofen or paracetamol can also help manage the aches and pains.”