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'No need for panic on new flu strain'

The Chief Medical Officer's influenza adviser has played down reports in the national media that a virulent influenza virus strain is threatening a UK epidemic.

Professor John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary medical school in London, said there had been isolated cases of the new H3N2 strain in the UK this year but there was 'no imminent danger of an epidemic'.

The Health Protection Agency and Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health both reported 'low' levels of flu activity.

Professor Oxford added: 'There's no cause for panic ­ just a feeling of anxiety.'

He urged GPs to speed up vaccination campaigns and target at-risk younger people who may not come forward.

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