Wales

15 flu deaths reported in Wales in one week

Patient receiving flu jab
Image caption Public health experts say GP consultations for people with flu-like symptoms remains 'normal'

Fifteen flu-related deaths have been reported to the assembly government in the past week.

The total number of flu deaths in Wales since October now stands at 27.

Health officials said 49 people were having treatment in critical care beds in hospitals across Wales on Tuesday of this week.

There has also been an increase in the number of GP consultations for flu but the figure remained "within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity".

Aneurin Bevan Health Board, which covers the former Gwent trust area, reported the most number of critical care admissions, 12, closely followed by Betsi Cadwaladr health board in north Wales which saw 11 admissions.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cardiff and Vale health boards both saw nine admissions.

Provisional figures from Public Health Wales showed the number of people going to their GP complaining of flu-like symptoms rose to 93 consultations per 100,000 compared to 85 consultations at 5 January.

However, health officials said the reduction in GP consulting hours during the New Year Bank Holiday may have affected last week's clinical consultation rate.

The age group with the highest consultation rate was the 25-34 year age group at 147 consultations per 100,000.

Sixty-two people died with flu in the UK in the past week, bringing the total to 112 since October, according to the latest figures.

'Vaccine'

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the rise could be due to delayed reporting, with many of the deaths occurring before Christmas.

Most of those who died had swine flu. The majority were aged between 15 and 64, but nine children under 14 died.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell said: "Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity.

"Most healthy people will recover from flu-like illnesses within five to seven days with plenty of rest and drinking non-alcoholic fluids."

He added: "On the issue of vaccination against seasonal flu, whilst we have been working to make stocks of the vaccine that was developed against swine flu available to be used where supplies of seasonal flu vaccine have run low, we are now well into the flu season."

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