Flu outbreak: UK deaths triple with GPs seeing major rise in patients

Almost three times as many people are dying of flu in the UK this winter as last year, figures reveal.

After 35 more deaths last week, 120 people across the country have died of flu-related symptoms since early October, compared with 45 in the same period in 2016-17.

Separate figures, released on Thursday by the Royal College of GPs, showed that more than 30,000 people visited a GP last week as a result of influenza-like illness, an increase of more than 9,000 compared with the first week of January.

However, Public Health England (PHE) declared that while flu was rendering the largest number of people seriously unwell since the winter of 2010/11, it was still not an epidemic.

Last week saw 598 people admitted to hospital with flu, of whom 198 were so sick they had to be treated in an intensive care or high dependency unit. However, both numbers were lower than the previous week.

The first two weeks of the year have also seen huge rises across all four home nations in people getting flu and turning to their GP for help.

In England, 21 people per 100,000 of population did so in the last week of December. But that more than doubled to 53.1 in the week that ended last Sunday, 14 January, according to data collected by PHE.

PHE analysis of GP consultations also showed that in Wales, rates almost quadrupled over the same fortnight from 16.7 to 64.9 per 100,000 people. Scotland and Northern Ireland saw smaller but still major rises, from 44.9 to 114 and 22.7 to 65.2 per 100,000 of population respectively.

The surge sparked fresh pleas from for the millions of people who have not had the winter flu jab, including those at particular risk from the virus, to get immunised urgently.



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