A virus frozen in Siberia for around 30,000 years has been brought back to life after being uncovered by scientists.
The discovery of the virus, named Pithovirus sibericum, under 30m (100ft) of frost has prompted fears that other hidden strains such as smallpox could be exposed by the effects of global warming.
France's National Centre for Scientific Research, which was responsible for the finding in the Chukotka autonomous region, said in a release on its website that the findings "have important implications in terms of public health risks".
"The re-emergence of viruses considered to be eradicated, such as smallpox, whose replication process is similar to Pithovirus, is no longer the domain of science fiction," the organisation said. "The probability of this type of scenario needs to be estimated realistically."
The number of cases of winter vomiting bug norovirus could rise to more than one million, according to new figures released by the Health Protection Agency.
Latest statistics show that there have been 3,538 laboratory confirmed cases of the virus during a 23-week period up until December 16th this year.
The amount of norovirus cases represents a small percentage of the actual numbers of norovirus activity as it is estimated that for each confirmed case, there are a further 288 unreported cases.
The latest figures eclipse last year's statistics at the same point.
Health officials are launching a campaign to encourage at-risk groups to get vaccinated.
A new website, called Winterwatch, is also being launched later this month which will provide the latest winter-related health data.
Many people who risk becoming seriously ill if they get the flu have not yet been vaccinated against it.
The number of pensioners who have received the vaccination has fallen from the same period last year.
Figures show that by the end of last week, 48.9% of patients aged 65 or older had the flu jab, but in the same week in 2011, 54.8% of pensioners had received it.
Flu usually develops more quickly than a cold, with distinguishing symptoms including;
- Sudden fever - a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above.
- Dry, chesty cough.
- Aching muscles.
- Limb or joint pain.
- Diarrhoea or upset stomach.
- Sore throat.
- Runny or blocked nose.
- Loss of appetite.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- An average of 600 people die from flu-related complications in the UK each year, according to the NHS.
- The figure can rise to around 13,000 during a severe outbreak.
- Two in five (40%) of those surveyed said they did not want a sick day on their record.
- 20% were scared that they could lose their job if they took days off.
- Men were found to be likelier to contribute to a contagion.
- Over half of men (53%) said they would go to work with flu compared with 42% of women.
Workers are at risk of catching flu from colleagues who fear taking time off when they are ill, a new study has found.
One in three employees (32%) feel pressured to go into work even if they have the virus, despite 36% saying they fret about an impending outbreak of new flu strains, according to the research.
More than half (54%) of those who said they would still go into work claimed it was because bosses and co-workers would take them for shirkers.
The survey for The Co-Operative Pharmacy also found that 26% of workers are unsure about the difference between a cold and the flu.