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Since 1999, Winter Deaths Have been the Highest

Update Date: Nov 27, 2015 01:55 PM EST

Last winter, England and Wales reported more than 40,000 deaths which has been the highest number since 1999. According to the report, most deaths involved people over 75 years of age. The most common reason attributed to the rise of deaths was the flu virus and the influenza vaccine for its treatment became less effective than it was last year, said the experts. These figures were published by the Office of National Statistics and show that women deaths were higher than that of men, as reported by BBC News.

Claudia Wells of ONS said about the provisional statistics, "A major cause behind the rise was the flu virus, with estimates showing that the flu vaccine was not as effective this winter compared to previous years. While the cold temperature is a factor, most of last winter was warmer than average." The underlying reasons for the deaths have been respiratory conditions such as influenza and pneumonia. Public Health experts say that the flu vaccine used last year by WHO was only effective on 34% people, reports The Guardian.

Caroline Abrahams, at Age UK, said: "Behind the figures are many individual tragedies of older people dying needlessly before their time." According to the department of health, their plan for cold weather seasons has been set out so that the individuals and organizations can reduce the illnesses or deaths caused by the winters. A spokesperson added: "Excess winter deaths can be due to a number of causes including cold snaps, flu and other respiratory infections. Flu is serious, causing severe illness and deaths in winter. It is vital that older people, pregnant women and those with a health condition get their flu jab this winter." According to ONS, the excess winter deaths can be defined as the number of people whose deaths were registered in the months of December to March, as reported by BBC News.

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