Number of flu deaths reaches 112
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 swine flu 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.
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.
Among those in critical care (intensive care and high dependency), 18 patients are under five and another eight are aged five to 15. Of the 112 dead, 95 had swine flu and another five had flu type B. Another 12 deaths have not had their flu type confirmed.
Distribution of leftover stocks of last year's Pandemrix swine flu vaccine, held by central Government, began on Monday and by Wednesday afternoon, some 200,500 doses had been ordered by health trusts and GPs, of which 185,000 doses had been dispatched.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government's interim chief medical officer, said any death, such as that of Lana Ameen, was a tragedy for the family.
She said: "As a paediatrician, I've seen deaths like this and they are horribly painful for the family concerned and the family lives with it forever. I want to offer my condolences to all families who have lost a loved one."