Shock figures released yesterday by Public Health England, 85 people have died from influenza since October 5, with 27 of those going in the first week of January.
Almost 2,000 people have been hospitalised by flu this winter, the report also revealed, and one in four of those cases were caused by deadly Aussie flu.
The flu strain – H3N2 – swept through Australia over its winter with 170,000 cases recorded, including a number of deaths.
How contagious is the flu?
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The health agency adds: “Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days.
“Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
“Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.”
The symptoms are similar to those caused by normal flu, but more severe.
The NHS outlines nine flu symptoms:
- A sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
- Aching body
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- Dry, chesty cough
- Sore throat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhoea or tummy pain
- Nausea and being sick