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Winter flu death toll reaches 112

The number of people with flu who have died in the UK since September has more than doubled in a week, according to government figures.

Some 112 people, including six children under five, nine aged five to 14 and 70 aged between 15 and 16, have succumbed to the virus during the period. This is more than double the 50 cases that were reported last week.

A total of 63 of the 81 cases where information was available, were in risk groups for flu.

Meanwhile, there are 661 people in critical care in England. This is down on last week's figure of 783.

The government has published the figures the day after it was urged to review its vaccination policy by a mother whose three-year-old daughter, who was not in the "at-risk" group and was not vaccinated, died from the virus.

Gemma Ameen and her husband, Zana, switched off the life support machine that was keeping their daughter, Lana, alive on Boxing Day just two days after she apparently fell ill with a cold.

But the Department of Health has defended its vaccination policy insisting that independent expert advice was "absolutely clear" that children who do not display risk factors should not be vaccinated.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Department of Health