LONDON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- British health officials are preparing for the arrival of an Australian flu virus, Brisbane H3N2, which has claimed hundreds of lives.
The Daily Mail said more than 800 people died of pneumonia after contracting the flu in Australia's New South Wales during five weeks in June and July 2007. Health officials said the virus is expected to arrive in Europe this winter.
The World Health Organization and vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur have combined the Brisbane strain with two other strains in their latest flu vaccine.
"The upcoming season is notable in the sense that among the three new vaccine strains, there is one that has proved to be very virulent in Australia," Bruno Lina, head of the National Influenza Center in France, told the newspaper. "'This further reinforces the importance to comply with health authorities' recommendation for seasonal flu vaccination."