Flu Epidemic Starts in 6 Japan Prefectures

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Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)--Six of Japan's 47 prefectures have entered the influenza season, the health ministry said Friday.

The six prefectures, including Iwate, Tokyo and Kumamoto, saw their number of flu patients per hospital rose above the threshold of one in the week through Sunday.

A reading above one signals the beginning of an epidemic. A survey by the ministry covers some 5,000 regularly monitored hospitals across the country.

The nationwide number of flu patients doubled from the preceding week to 2,592. The per-hospital number came to 0.53.

By prefecture, the per-hospital number was highest in Iwate, at 2.84, followed by Toyama, at 1.33, Aomori, at 1.25, Kumamoto, at 1.14, Tokyo, at 1.12, and Kanagawa, at 1.05. The figure was at 0.91 in Fukuoka, 0.82 in Osaka and 0.80 in Okinawa.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press