Seasonal Flu

Updated figures on this winter’s flu situation released today show that the number of reported cases of people with ‘flu-like symptoms continues to fall.

The figures show that:

  • there have been 40.7 GP consultations per 100,000 in England and Wales. This compares with 66.5 last week and 124 four weeks ago;
  • 247 critical care beds are occupied with people with ‘flu-like symptoms – around 7.1 per cent of capacity. This compares with 418 last week and 850 at its peak; and
  • 72.2 per cent of over 65s and 49.1 per cent of under 65s in at risk groups have been vaccinated (71.7 and 48 per cent last week).
  • The HPA have verified a total of 338 deaths in the UK since the flu season began in October last year.

The vast majority of the new deaths reported today 84 did not occur in the past week, there are other reported deaths that have yet to be verified as to there cause.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Interim Chief Medical Officer said:

“I am cautiously pleased with the decline in cases again this week. But winter isn’t over yet and we still all need to be on our guard against flu. That means catching our germs in a tissue, throwing it in a bin and washing our hands regularly – catch it, bin it, kill it.

“It isn’t too late for people in an at risk group to be vaccinated and I would urge people to contact their GP or practice nurse to make an appointment.

“Any GP who has seen demand exceed supply has been able to order extra vaccine from manufacturers and from our central stock of the Pandemrix vaccine.

“I would like to thank everyone working in the NHS for their hard work and dedication so far this winter. It’s been a tough winter, the NHS has been under pressure but, thanks to the detailed planning that was put in place in advance, it has coped fantastically well.”

Further Information

  1. The full Health protection Agency update can be found at the link below.
  2. So far this year, 72.2 per cent of over 65s and 49.1 per cent of under 65s in at risk groups have been vaccinated – more than this time in 2008/09.
  3. At its most busy so far this winter, 850 critical care beds were occupied by patients with ‘flu-like symptoms. This was around 23 per cent of critical care capacity. Because of the good preparations the NHS had put in place for this winter, local NHS organisations were able to increase critical care beds where necessary.
  4. The number of ‘Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation’ (ECMO) beds (specialist treatment which helps patients with acute reversible respiratory failure by providing oxygen directly into their bloodstreams) available for adults is at 25, one of the highest numbers per population in the world.



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