Flu death toll rises

As deaths from flu double, experts fear that the outbreak will spark potentially fatal secondary infections

A government report has revealed that there have been 112 deaths connected to flu this winter, with a total of 62 people dying in Britain in the last week.

The majority of deaths have been linked to the H1N1 swine flu virus.

The statistics come just a day after the mother of a three-year-old victim begged the government to review its vaccination policy.

Gemma Ameen and her husband, Zana, are struggling to deal with the loss of their daughter after switching her life support off on Boxing Day, just two days after she caught a cold.

Government officials have defended their decision not to offer the flu vaccine to healthy children under the age of five, saying that the death rate under this age group is lower than in the 45s to 64s.

They insist that many of the influenza-style-illnesses in this group turn out to be a different virus that would not be prevented by the flu vaccination.

Experts say the outbreak may now be leveling off, however, Prof Dame Sally Davies, interim chief medical officer, has urged vulnerable people to get vaccinated and be vigilant for secondary bacterial infection after testing showed there has been a rise.

Last week, the government authorised the release of stockpiles of pandemic vaccine used in 2009 as some GPs were reporting shortages of the seasonal vaccine for people in the at-risk groups.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE HEALTH NEWS

Reading now

Popular