Number of flu deaths reaches 112


A total of 112 people with flu have died in the UK since September

A total of 112 people with flu have died in the UK since September, the Government has announced.

The figure is up on the 50 cases reported last week and includes six children under five, nine aged five to 14 and 70 aged 15 to 64. Of 81 cases where information was available, 63 were in risk groups for flu.

The number of people in critical care in England has fallen from 783 last week to 661 and the latest figures come a day after the mother of a three-year-old victim urged the Government to further review its vaccination policy.

Gemma Ameen and her husband, Zana, switched off life support to their daughter, Lana, just two days after she apparently caught a cold on Christmas Eve.

The couple, a nurse and a doctor, initially took their daughter to hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester, where she was diagnosed with an infection and sent home. Later the same day she was taken back to Stepping Hill Hospital after she suffered multiple fits.

Mr and Mrs Ameen, from Quinton, Birmingham, claimed she then had to be revived three times over a three-hour period as they said a junior doctor refused to call a specialist consultant. Lana was eventually transferred to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool but died on Boxing Day.

Mrs Ameen issued a photograph of her daughter in intensive care in a bid to reverse Government policy on who is eligible for the seasonal flu vaccine which combats the H1N1 virus.

The Department of Health insisted independent expert advice was “absolutely clear” that children who do not have risk factors should not be vaccinated. The advice had been reviewed recently and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) did not change its recommendation, it added.

But Mrs Ameen, 28, responded: “It’s heartless really. It definitely needs looking at again with another review. Rather than just taking facts and figures, they need to start thinking about people’s lives.”

Pharmacy giant Boots has also revealed its stores have “very limited” stocks of the winter flu jab and said there was currently no hope of replenishing its supplies.

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