Experts fear an early wave of flu could combine this year with monkeypox and covid increases


Experts fear an early wave of flu could combine this year with monkeypox and covid increases

  • Health officials have said they are expecting an ‘early influenza wave’ in the UK 
  • Dr Susan Hopkins chief medical advisor at UKHSA is monitoring Australia 
  • Australia, currently in winter season, is ‘having its worst influenza in five years’
  • She said their flu season could replicate in the UK as early as September

Britain should brace for an early flu outbreak that will coincide with increasing Covid and monkeypox cases, a top expert has warned. 

Health officials have said they are expecting an ‘early influenza wave’ in the UK because there has not been a ‘proper’ flu season since the start of the Covid pandemic. 

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said she is watching Australia – currently in its winter season – ‘very carefully’ after a strain of influenza ‘started early and spread fast across all age groups’. 

She said the country is ‘having its worst flu season in five years’, which could replicate in the UK as early as September.

Meanwhile, Dr Hopkins added that we will see at least one more Covid wave later this year partnered with an ‘ongoing transmission of monkeypox’. 

There are also mounting fears that the NHS will be struck down at the same time by Covid, with colder weather and darker evenings leading to increased social contact indoors — where viruses find it easier to spread.

Flu is a seasonal menace on the NHS, with outbreaks more likely between September and March because colder weather forces more people indoors where the virus — like Covid — finds it easier to spread.

But influenza virtually disappeared last winter amid lockdowns aiming to control the spread of Covid.

Britain should brace for an early flu outbreak that will coincide with increasing Covid and monkeypox cases, a top expert has warned (file image)

Britain should brace for an early flu outbreak that will coincide with increasing Covid and monkeypox cases, a top expert has warned (file image)

Health officials have said they are expecting an 'early influenza wave' in the UK because there has not been a 'proper' flu season since the start of the Covid pandemic

Health officials have said they are expecting an ‘early influenza wave’ in the UK because there has not been a ‘proper’ flu season since the start of the Covid pandemic

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said we will see at least one more Covid wave later this year partnered with an 'ongoing transmission of monkeypox'

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said we will see at least one more Covid wave later this year partnered with an ‘ongoing transmission of monkeypox’

Experts are now concerned over the lack of population immunity following the pandemic and the prospect of a bad winter, which could cripple the NHS, reports The Telegraph.

Speaking on Thursday in a webinar hosted by the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr Hopkins said: ‘We are planning for an influenza wave. I don’t know if people re following Australia, but we are watching very, very carefully. 

‘It started earlier and it rose very, very fast in all age groups so we are expecting that we will see an early influenza wave.

‘While we normally don’t see influenza really kick off until the end of November to December, that might happen as early as late September-October – that’s what we’re planning for.’

Meanwhile, Dr Hopkins added that we will see at least one more Covid wave later this year partnered with an ‘ongoing transmission of monkeypox’. 

She added: ‘We will see at least one Covid wave in the autumn-winter, once we have got through the current wave. And, for the next six months at least, we will have ongoing community transmission of monkeypox.’ 

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests 1.3million people in England were infected during the week to June 18, up by a fifth compared to the previous estimate. Yet the week-on-week rise is half of the 40 per cent spike logged in last week’s projection.

Cases are also on the rise in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Experts previously told MailOnline the figures suggest the current wave ‘may be slowing’ already and ‘may not go that high after all’. They admitted, however, that the peak is still to come.

Dr Hopkins said: 'For the next six months at least, we will have ongoing community transmission of monkeypox'

Dr Hopkins said: ‘For the next six months at least, we will have ongoing community transmission of monkeypox’

The Omicron sub-strains BA.4 and BA.5 are now the dominant strains in the UK, the UK Health Security Agency today confirmed for the first time. They are thought to be even more infectious than their ancestral versions, which were to blame for cases reaching pandemic highs in December and April, but just as mild.

Meanwhile, Monkeypox cases in the UK have risen above 1,000 as the rare disease continues to spread, officials confirmed today.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) bosses said there had been 1,076 infections as of Sunday, almost double the number a fortnight ago.

Authorities said they expect cases to continue to rise further in the coming days and are advising anyone going to large events or having sex with new partners to ‘be alert’ for symptoms.  

Dr Hopkins revealed there are now 20 to 40 new cases every day and said: ‘This year will be even more challenging than normal.’

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