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France

Record winter mortality rate in France blamed on flu

The French influenza epidemic has so far affected 2,8 million people in 2015.
The French influenza epidemic has so far affected 2,8 million people in 2015. AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure

France registered a record high mortality rate in February. Influenza is thought to be the main cause with more than 10,000 increase in winter death.

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"Since the beginning of the flu epidemic (mid-January), the excess winter mortality - for all causes of death - is 19 per cent higher than expected (...), so an increase of 10,200 in deaths", said the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (INVS) in a study released on Wednesday.

The French influenza epidemic has so far affected 2,8 million people in 2015.

France is not the only country to be affected with a deadly winter season flu.

According to the INVS in 10 European countries - including France, Belgium, Britain, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Switzerland - the increase in mortality could have reached 80,000 amongst people over 65.

The H3N2 flu virus could be to blame - as it represents 59 per cent of the viruses - and was not included in this season's vaccine.

The mutated virus H3N2 emerged after the World Health Organisation had approved this season's vaccine composition. 

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