Swine flu hitting Islington harder than its neighbours

SWINE flu rates in Islington are running at more than double those in neighbouring Haringey and significantly higher than in Camden, according to information from GPs.

Latest figures show the number of reported cases per 100,000 people during the five weeks between December 6 last year and January 9 this year was consistently higher in Islington than the boroughs on its border.

Swine flu rates peaked in the week leading up to Christmas, when the rate per 100,000 people in Islington was 168.1 – around 330 cases – compared to a rate of 106.6 in Camden and 58.8 in Haringey.

In total, in the period between December 6 and January 3, GPs in Islington reported around 1,000 cases of swine flu.

Islington also experienced consistently higher rates of the flu than its neighbours during the last major outbreak in July 2009.

A spokeswoman for NHS Islington said: “Each year Islington GPs record higher levels of flu symptoms than other boroughs. This is mainly due to the commitment of our GPs and nurses in raising awareness about flu.

“We are also committed to ensuring all residents are aware of the seasonal flu jab, particularly with at risk patient groups.

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“The cycle of success of these communications means that our patients are reporting to their GP if they are suffering from flu, rather than going to A&E.”

She also said that Islington’s popularity with visitors contributes to the spread of the virus. “It should be noted that Islington is an extremely diverse borough with lots of population mix and movement,” said the spokeswoman.

“Like other inner city boroughs this raises the opportunity for spread of viruses, such as seasonal flu. We would continue to encourage all of our residents, if they are concerned they are suffering from flu-like symptoms, or for a family or friend, they should call their local GP.”

All information on seasonal flu and the flu vaccine can be found at www.islington.nhs.uk /flu.