ONS report reveals over 20% excess deaths in Britain's winter months

Second highest number of ‘excess winter deaths’ in eight years

Second highest number of ‘excess winter deaths’ in eight years

A pedestrian walks on the snow-covered street in southern London, Britain, Dec. 2, 2010.

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, there were over 34,000 "excess winter deaths" across England and Wales in the winter months.

'Excess winter deaths' in England and Wales rose by almost 40% past year, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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On Jan. 9, 2017 alone, nearly 2,000 in England and Wales died. "The increase is likely due to the predominant strain of flu prevalent during the 2016 to 2017 winter which had greater impact on the elderly than the young".

It is the second highest number of excess winter deaths since 2008/09 when there were 36,450 additional deaths observed over the winter period.

Females and the elderly were most affected by excess winter mortality in the 2016 to 2017 winter period, with over one-third of all excess winter deaths caused by respiratory diseases in 2016 to 2017. In comparison, said ONS, Northampton had the lowest excess death level between winter and summer months of just 2 percent. The high figure for last winter was up from 24,580 in 2015-16, probably because of a flu strain that hit the elderly.

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The highest number of winter deaths since then was seen in 2014/15 when the winter death toll reached nearly 44,000 with the peak being attributed to a less effective flu vaccination.

The ONS said that research has shown that as the temperature gets colder mortality increases, but temperature is only able to explain a part of the variance in excess winter mortality.

Now thousands of elderly and vulnerable people in Britain are being given flu vaccines to help protect them during the coming colder months.

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