11 flu deaths in Scotland this winter

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DEATHS from flu in Scotland this winter have increased to 11, with more than 50 people needing intensive care treatment, figures show.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said nine cases of severe flu infection needing to be admitted to intensive care were reported last week, bringing the total to 53 this flu season.

The number of deaths also increased from nine to 11, with all victims suffering from the influenza A strain, the weekly statistics show.

Of these 53 cases needing intensive care, eight were under 15 years of age, 24 were in the age-group 15-64 and 21 were 65 years or older.

The growing number of flu cases comes as hospitals struggle to cope with cases of the winter vomiting bug, with ­patients facing long waits due to a shortage of beds.

Rates of flu vary from year to year, but this winter has already seen more flu admissions and deaths than the last flu season when a total of 17 intensive care admissions and five deaths were reported.

So far, however, officials have said rates of people seeing their doctor with flu have remained within the levels expected.

HPS figures also showed that many at-risk groups were being vaccinated against flu, particularly pregnant women, which it said was “encouraging”.