Europe braces for flu impact

As the number of cases of flu in the United Kingdom begins to rise, with swine flu as the dominant strain, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has warned that most of Europe is experiencing increases too.

Most reported cases have been in children between the ages of five and 14, the BBC reports.

This winter, there have been 27 deaths from all types of the flu in the U.K. The volume of patients going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms more than doubled to 87.1 per 100,000 in the past week, according to the BBC.

According to the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency, a very large outbreak is unlikely.

"The level of flu activity we are currently seeing is at levels often seen during the winter flu seasons," Professor John Watson, an expert in respiratory disease with the HPA, said, according to the BBC. "Recent research conducted by the HPA has suggested that a very substantial wave of activity associated with the pandemic strain is now likely."

While the rates seen elsewhere in Europe are not as high as they are in the U.K., the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control believes there is evidence that the winter flu epidemics have begun, with the Ukraine and Russia appearing to be the worst his country outside the U.K.