Teenager, 18, dies after being struck with flu bug sweeping UK: Deaths soar by 77% in a week as country struggles against aggressive ‘Aussie’ and ‘Japanese’ strains of the killer virus

Thursday, January 11, 2018
By Paul Martin

Latest figures state 85 people have lost their lives to the bug already this winter
Just 48 flu deaths were recorded last week, Public Health England data shows
New statistics also show the killer virus has left 1,938 in hospital since October
A quarter of these have been triggered by ‘Aussie flu’ and half from ‘Japanese’

11 January 2018

A mother has today revealed her heartache after her 18-year-old daughter died from one of the deadly flu bugs currently sweeping the UK.

Bethany Walker, of Applecross in Northern Scotland, passed away from pneumonia, which was triggered by the virus, last week.

Her devastated mother, Heather Teale, posted an emotional reaction on Facebook to say she was ‘broken’ and the ‘bottom has fallen out of my world’.

Tributes have flooded in for the popular teenager on social media. Miss Walker was due to head to Aberdeen University to study midwifery later this year.

Her death comes as flu deaths have soared by 77 per cent in just a week in England, Government figures reveal as fears of the worst outbreak in 50 years loom large.

The latest update, released today, states 85 people have lost their lives to flu already this winter, compared to the previous total of 48 recorded last week.

A similar in-depth breakdown of figures doesn’t exist for Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. However, Scotland appears to have been hit the hardest in the UK so far this winter because it is the only home nation to report a significant number of ‘excess deaths’ – when more deaths have occurred than expected.

Figures also show that for every 100,000 patients in Scotland, 107.3 have displayed ‘influenza-like’ symptoms in their GP consultations. This is more than double the amount in Northern Ireland (52.6) and almost triple that of Wales (38.9). In contrast, England’s rate is 37.3.

Public Health England data also shows the killer virus has left 1,938 in hospital since October – a quarter because of ‘Aussie flu’ and half from ‘Japanese flu’.

This is adding extra pressure onto an already stretched NHS, which is considered to be in the midst of its worst winter on record.

The new PHE figures come as others have also lost their battle with the killer virus. They include Melanie Coombs, a 56-year-old grandmother, who died from flu – after beating terminal cancer twice.

World War II veteran Owen Hardy, 95, from Chichester, has also died from flu during the past week, his grieving daughter revealed. During his time in the RAF, he was awarded the top medal for valour – the Legion d’Honneur.

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