Japan sees first decline in influenza cases in 3 months

The average number of influenza patients per medical institution in Japan has seen its first week-on-week decline in about three months.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases and others say about 5,000 medical facilities across the country reported 85,766 cases in the week leading up to Sunday.

The number of patients per institution stood at 17.35. That's down by 3.78 from a week earlier.

This is the first time since the week starting August 14 that case counts fell week on week.

The estimated number of patients nationwide for the week ending Sunday is 635,000, a decline of 98,000 from the previous seven-day period.

Among the country's 47 prefectures, Tokyo and 30 others saw their patient numbers decrease.

The officials say about 55 percent of the patients are aged 14 or younger.

Toho University Professor Tateda Kazuhiro says health officials need to monitor the situation for several weeks to determine whether case counts will continue to fall and stabilize at lower levels or start rising again.