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France

Record winter mortality rate in France blamed on flu

media 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.

"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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