Aussie flu sees highest weekly death toll for THREE YEARS as more than 15,000 people die

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
By Paul Martin

THE number of people dying in England and Wales has reached the highest weekly level since a devastating flu epidemic three years ago as figures revealed more than 15,000 people have died.

Wed, Jan 24, 2018

As freezing weather, Aussie flu and reports of crisis conditions in NHS hospitals gripped the nation, more than 15,000 deaths were recorded in the second week of January.

The 15,050 deaths reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the week ending on Friday 12 January represented an 18 percent increase on the 12,723 reported in the first week of the year.

The mortality level is 14 percent higher than the average of 13,167 deaths in the corresponding week over the past five years.

The ONS figures deal with the raw numbers of deaths that have been registered and it will be months before there are clear official figures on the causes.

But more than 13,000 people who died in the week were over the age of 65 and 6,621 were over 85.

The rising numbers have been recognised by Public Health England, which in a flu bulletin this week said “statistically significant excess all-cause mortality by week of death was seen” among over-65s in the second week of January.

The only other occasion when there were more than 15,000 deaths in a single week in recent years was the second week of January in 2015, when the total registered was 16,237.

One cause of this January’s high death rate may be that the H3N2 flu strain – known as “Aussie flu” after a major outbreak in Australia – is resistant against vaccination among the elderly.

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