Intensive care flu cases soar

The number of people in intensive care with confirmed or suspected flu in England has risen to 738.

Statistics released by the Department of Health (DH) last Friday showed that 460 people were receiving intensive treatment for flu.

There are now 738 patients receiving the same level of care including 42 youngsters under five, the DH revealed.

Yesterday Government advisers urged the vulnerable to be vaccinated against the virus.

The advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) came last night as figures revealed the winter's growing death toll - 39 people have died from the virus since October.

The Health Protection Agency confirmed 12 more flu deaths this week and the Government announced it was relaunching the "Catch it, Bin it, Kill it" campaign, telling people to catch their sneezes and coughs and wash their hands.

The Department of Health will launch its national flu vaccination campaign tomorrow.

The move comes after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley defended the Government's initial decision not to run the campaign earlier this week.

Labour accused Mr Lansley of a U-turn after the decision to reinstate the campaign was announced.

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