FLU is sweeping through some parts of Spain.
It has reached epidemic proportions in Aragon, Asturias, the Basque Region, the Canary Islands, Cataluña, Extremadura, Madrid, the North African enclave of Melilla and the Valencian Community.
For the third week running there was also a significant increase in the number of under-15s suffering from the virus. This is always one of the most-affected age groups thanks to close contact at school.
By the last week of January, there were 156.73 cases of flu for every 100,000 inhabitants compared to 95.35 cases the previous week, announced the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid.
A disease becomes an epidemic once there are more than 67.8 cases for every 100,000 people nationwide, explained Dr Oscar Zurriaga, an epidemic specialist from Valencia.
Andalucia, Baleares, Cantabria, Navarra and Ceuta so far experienced only localised outbreaks. The presence of flu elsewhere is sporadic, the Health authorities announced, with the lowest number of cases reported in Castilla y Leon.
This year’s figures are nevertheless an improvement on January 2012, when the virus was more evenly distributed throughout the country with 196 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants.