Tokyo: The average number of influenza patients per hospital in Japan in the week ended Sunday came to 10.36, exceeding the warning level of 10 for the first time in three years, the health ministry said Friday.
The warning level indicates the possibility of an epidemic occurring within the next four weeks.
The figure is based on reports the ministry receives from about 5,000 regularly monitored hospitals across the country.
By prefecture, the number of flu patients per hospital was highest in Okinawa, with 41.23, followed by Fukui, with 25.38, Osaka, with 24.34, and Fukuoka, with 21.70.
An estimated 301,000 flu patients visited hospitals in the reporting week, up by about 14,000 from the previous week, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
After COVID-19 started spreading in the country in January 2020, Japan did not see a major flu outbreak up until the end of last year.