Britain will be hit by an unusually early flu wave that could begin as soon as September, a health boss has warned.
Britain has not experienced a proper flu season since the Covid pandemic struck in 2020, leaving experts worried about a lack of population immunity and the potential for a bad winter.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), told a webinar hosted by the Royal Society of Medicine that health authorities were preparing for this eventuality.
Australia, currently going through its winter, is having its worst flu season in five years, Dr Hopkins said, adding: “We are planning for an influenza wave. I don’t know if people are following Australia, but we are watching very, very carefully.
“They have had their worst influenza season for more than five years. 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.”