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Flu death toll continues to rise

21st January 2011

Latest figures show that the number of flu-related deaths in the UK is continuing to rise.

flu virus testing

So far, 254 people in the UK have died - up from 112 last week – with 195 deaths from H1N1 swine flu.

However, the Health Protection Agency has indicated that overall flu activity appears to be down.

The figures come as a row developed over who should take charge of the flu vaccination programme in the UK.

The government’s head of immunisation Professor David Salisbury has suggested ministers should take charge of the flu jabs programme from GPs, though doctors’ leaders have rejected this.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs' committee, said: “I don't think a wholesale change like this would work. The flu programme is complex and intense as we have a lot of people coming for immunisation at once.”

The BMA instead wants to see is an emergency stock to be held in case doctors do run out.

In the past week the number of GP consultations in England has fallen to 66.5 per 100,000 - down from 108.4 per 100,000 the previous week. The rest of the UK also reported falls.

Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said: “Our latest flu report suggests levels of flu are declining across the UK, but nonetheless flu is still circulating in the community and the message remains that people in an at-risk group should get the seasonal flu vaccine - it's not too late to protect yourself from flu this season.”

 

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