HEALTH chiefs are urging people to get the flu jab after 10 adults in the UK died from swine virus in the last six weeks.
The Health Protection Agency have confirmed that the deaths were in adults under 65 and associated with the H1N1 flu. Most of the victims had underlying conditions but “a small proportion” were healthy before getting the virus, which swept the country last year.
Professor John Watson, head of respiratory diseases at the HPA, said: “Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a rise in the number of cases of seasonal flu, including H1N1 and flu B.
“We have also had reports of patients with serious illness requiring hospitalisation and outbreaks of flu in schools across the country.
“Flu vaccination offers the best protection for those at high risk from seasonal influenza.”
Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: “These figures show that the effects of flu are not to be underestimated. The seasonal flu jab this year protects against three types of flu, including the type known as swine flu. “If you are in a risk group, I urge you to get the vaccination as soon as possible.”
The 10 deaths came against a background of a low rate of doctor visits. GP consultations for flu-like illness in England were 13.3 per 100,000 population last week.