Harley TamplinFriday 12 Jan 2018 12:46 pm
The number of people to have died after contracting the flu in Britain this winter has soared to 93. New data from Public Health England states that 27 flu-related deaths were reported in England in the first week of January.
This takes the overall number of fatalities since October to 93 – with 85 people dying in England and eight in Scotland. Previous figures from last week listed the number of deaths at 48. Dr Richard Pebody, acting head of respiratory diseases at Public Health England, told Metro.co.uk: ‘We are seeing high flu levels, however this is not unprecedented and there are indications that they are starting to peak. Staff across the NHS are doing a fantastic job and we are well prepared for flu this year, as we are every season.
The outbreak has affected every region of the UK (Picture: Metro.co.uk/MylesGoode)
‘Seasonal flu affects many people each year, and the number of confirmed hospitalisations reported this week should serve to remind us of the importance of preventing flu by taking up the offer of vaccination – it is not too late. ‘People currently suffering with flu-like symptoms should catch coughs or sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu. Avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu.’
Outbreaks of flu, including strands transmitted from Australia and Japan, have added to the pressure on the NHS that has seen the health service in crisis. Thousands of non-urgent operations have been cancelled, overcrowding has been reported by A&E doctors and there is a shortage of hospital beds. In its latest report, Public Health England wrote: ‘Influenza activity continues to increase across all surveillance indicators with notable increases for respiratory outbreaks and influenza confirmed hospitalisations, although there are early signs that influenza swab positivity levels in primary and secondary care are stabilising.’