Yorkshire hospitals buck the trend as UK flu deaths rocket

Fewer hospital patients in Yorkshire are seriously ill with flu, latest figures reveal.

A total of 62 patients with confirmed or suspected flu are in critical care beds in the region, down from 68 last week.

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Nationally though, deaths related to flu have soared from last week's tally of 50. Since September 112 people have died with flu, the vast majority with H1N1 swine flu.

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These included three-year-old Lana Ameen, from Birmingham, who died two days after she became ill. Her death prompted mum Gemma to urge the Government to vaccinate all children under five.

However the Department of Health said independent expert advice was "absolutely clear" that children who do not have risk factors should not be vaccinated.

Leeds family doctor Dr Richard Vautrey, from GP representative body the Leeds Local Medical Committee, said any death, especially that of a child, was a tragedy.

But he added: "We have to rely on the advice of the experts on this. We have never provided seasonal flu jabs to anyone who is out of at-risk groups. If the evidence changes then I'm sure those with expertise would review the evidence."

He said one of his concerns would be that if the flu vaccination was provided more widely, the vulnerable could miss out.

Dr Vautrey added that a review of evidence regarding people in other groups was needed.

Overall, he said the pattern of flu this winter was developing as would be expected.

He added: "It's still important for those who have not had the vaccination and are in an at-risk group to get one."

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