Serious warnings of an influenza outbreak that had been in effect for 21 prefectures as of last week have been reduced to eight, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Wednesday.

The eight prefectures are Hokkaido, Gunma, Niigata, Nagano, Mie, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Oita.

Miyazaki Prefecture was the only area in the country under a less serious warning, the institute officials said.

They said this season’s flu outbreak was the third smallest in the past 10 years after the 1993 to 1994 season and last year. In February, flu warnings were issued practically nationwide, with Okinawa Prefecture the lone exception.

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