The annual flu epidemic has struck early in Alicante Province and the Murcia region, with five elderly people dying in Elda and Alicante City, whilst six people have died in Murcia from complications caused by the flu since last October.

Influenza cases that normally reach a peak towards the end of January have reached similar levels four weeks early.

Figures from the Murcia region health authorities report that around 500 additional people are visiting hospital emergency departments each day, compared to the same period last year, a rise of 40 percent in the last 12 months. 270 extra workers have been taken on by Murcia’s hospitals to cope with the increased demand.

As previously reported by The Courier, health centres in Orihuela and Torrevieja started reporting increased numbers of patients seeking treatment during the final week of 2017, with experts saying that the current strain of flu is the most virulent for three years, especially with older residents.

Extra facilities have been opened up at Torrevieja Hospital; the Vega Baja Hospital in Orihuela; and Elche’s Vinalopó Hospital, with unions critical of low staffing and resourcing to deal with the flu outbreak.

Flu vaccinations are still available from local health centres across Alicante Province and Murcia.

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