Spain has registered a total of 472 deaths due to flu since the beginning of November, when the first confirmed death was registered in the 2017-2018 season - the most deadly of the last decade, including the pandemic of influenza A (H1N1) in 2009.
Data from the latest report from the National Network of Epidemiological Surveillance at the Carlos III Institute of Health, suggests that the week 29 January to 4 February saw 116 new deaths, a significant increase on the 356 already registered.
From these figures it is clear that the number of deaths related to the flu virus is far higher this season compared to 2016-17, when there was a total of 421 deaths between October 2016 and May 2017.
The authors of the report say that this flu season is producing “excessive mortality, greater than what had been anticipated” since the last week of 2017 and that deaths are mostly concentrated among those over 64.
Aside from the increase in mortality, the number of infections is slightly higher than it has been over the past two years; the highest level of flu infection registered this season has been 290 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 222 cases during 2016-2017 or 210 in 2015-2016.
The World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have criticised the “low acceptance” of the flu vaccine in Europe, where in many countries only a third of adults have been vaccinated.