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Scots near to flu epidemic

Flu rates in Scotland are nearing epidemic levels and public health officials are warning outbreaks are likely to move rapidly to other areas of the UK.

Rates in Dumfries, the worst-affected area, have hit 407 consultations per 100,000 patients. The Borders is close behind with 334 consultations per 100,000.

Overall, rates in Scotland have almost doubled in a week from 56 to 99 per 100,000.

Dr Martin Donaghy, clinical director of the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health, said GPs expected the number of consultations to rise and the outbreaks were likely to spread.

The latest flu figures for England and Wales showed consultation rates at 48 per 100,000 patients.

Dr Douglas Fleming, director of the RCGP Birmingham research unit, said rates above 400 were exceptional and warned England and Wales could face a similar situation to the outbreaks in the 1990s.

The Fujian influenza A (H3N2) virus has caused the death of several children.

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