Flu reaches epidemic levels in parts of United Kingdom as Japanese strain dominates

Flu death toll rises to 120 this winter

Flu death toll rises to 120 this winter

More than 30,000 people visited a GP last week because of flu, an increase of more than 9,000 than in the first week of January.

Separate figures, released on Thursday by the Royal College of Global Positioning System, 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.

"We have supported the NHS this winter with an additional £437m, and made the free flu vaccination available to 21 million people - 700,000 more than previous year".

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.

"We know hospitals are under pressure and hardworking staff treated 55,328 people within four hours every single day in December - 1,272 more each day than in the same month the previous year", they added.

In England there were 120 deaths recorded in England while in Scotland another 21 have died and eight in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Royal College of Global Positioning System said its Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) found the number of people visiting their doctor with flu has gone up by more than 150 per cent since the start of the year.

PHE analysis of GP consultations also showed that in Wales, rates nearly quadrupled over the same fortnight from 16.7 to 64.9 per 100,000 people.

Figures from internet surveillance suggest more than 15 per cent of people have suffered flu like illness in the past week - amounting to more than 8 million people.

York is the local authority area of England with the highest proportion of people suffering with flu, according to the PHE data.

There were significantly more deaths among the over-65s than usual. The A (H3N2) strain particularly affects older, more vulnerable age groups.

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