Japan's health ministry has issued an urgent nationwide caution to facilities for the elderly calling for through measures to prevent influenza.
A succession of senior residents in such facilities have died this month due to mass influenza infections. Four residents at a special care home for the elderly in Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan, and seven residents at a nursing home in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, have died of influenza.
The ministry issued the caution on Tuesday in response.
It urges the facilities to check their resident's health frequently because elderly people have low resistance to the virus, especially when living in groups where infections tend to spread.
The ministry also points out that it is important to prevent bringing in the virus from outside and instructs the facilities to urge people going in and out to wash their hands and wear face masks.
Health ministry officials say that elderly people usually have serious symptoms when they catch the flu, and it is necessary to pay sufficient attention to preventing mass infections.