Flu outbreak has now killed 93 people in Britain this winter
People have been encouraged to get the flu jab (Picture: Shutterstock)

The number of people to have died after contracting the flu in Britain this winter has soared to 93.

New data from Public Health England states that 27 flu-related deaths were reported in England in the first week of January.

Liver surgeon Simon BramhallSurgeon who branded his initials onto patients’ livers fined £10,000

This takes the overall number of fatalities since October to 93 – with 85 people dying in England and eight in Scotland.

Previous figures from last week listed the number of deaths at 48.

Outbreaks of flu, including strands transmitted from Australia and Japan, have added to the pressure on the NHS that has seen the health service in crisis.

Flu deaths double picture: Metro.co.uk/MylesGoode
The outbreak has affected every region of the UK (Picture: Metro.co.uk/MylesGoode)

Thousands of non-urgent operations have been cancelled, overcrowding has been reported by A&E doctors and there is a shortage of hospital beds.

In its latest report, Public Health England wrote: ‘Influenza activity continues to increase across all surveillance indicators with notable increases for respiratory outbreaks and influenza confirmed hospitalisations, although there are early signs that influenza swab positivity levels in primary and secondary care are stabilising.’

The number of hospital admissions involving people struck down with flu has been classed above the very high impact threshold for the first time this winter, with 0.51 people per 100,000 needing hospital treatment.

And pensioners are the age group most likely to fall ill with flu, the report added.