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Winter flu outbreak has hit peak, according to data from GP surgeries

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This winter’s flu outbreak appears to have reached its peak, according to data from GP surgeries.

The Royal College of GPs said cases have fallen from 68.5 per 100,000 people to 41.3 last week.

Colds are also becoming less common, with cases dropping from 355.3 per 100,000 people to 41.3 per week.

Latest figures from NHS Direct provide a yardstick of the impact of the early rise in seasonal activity this winter.

Paula Higson, NHS Direct interim chief executive, said: ‘During the Christmas week, 13% of all symptomatic calls answered were as a result of colds and flu, and 7% due to diarrhoea and vomiting.

'On a number of days the spike in calls was unprecedented, with NHS Direct at one stage answering as many as 2,800 calls an hour,’ he said.

However the BMA’s GP committee has not ruled out a further increase this winter. It has just published guidance for practices in the event of a flu pandemic.

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