Between the 8th and 14th of January, 160 out of every 100,000 inhabitants of Belgium consulted a general practitioner because of a flu syndrome, a ratio that is slightly above the epidemic threshold of 141 consultations per 100,000 inhabitants, the Scientific Institute of Public Health, ISP disclosed on Wednesday. This marks the first time the threshold has been crossed for this season.
For an epidemic to be declared, the threshold must be crossed for two consecutive weeks, which means that if the number of consultations rises above the 141-limit this week, the ISP will announce formally that there is a flu epidemic in Belgium.
Since early January, the severity and intensity of the flu is also being monitored through a network of six hospitals around the country, which report all cases of hospitalization for severe respiratory infections to the ISP.
At this stage of the flu outbreak, the ISP has noticed an increase in the number of hospitalizations.