Fujian flu kills child, two

An outbreak of Fujian flu that has swept the country is thought to have claimed its eighth child victim.

The two-year-old girl, who has not been named, died in hospital at Redditch, Worcestershire. Health officials said more patients with the flu were being admitted to hospitals in the region but the official cause of death would not be known for days.

Five days ago, three-year-old Tamara Whitty, also from Worcester, died from flu. The Fujian strain has not been seen in Britain before and is causing twice as much illness among infants under four as in all other age groups, including the elderly. Fujian flu hit Australia in their winter, putting severe strain on hospitals and affecting many youngsters. This year's UK outbreak has started early but overall levels are still low compared with 1999-2000, the last year in which there was significant illness.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the Government's chief medical officer, said there were no plans to vaccinate children but the situation was being monitored. The worst of the three global pandemics in the 20th century, in 1918-19, is estimated to have killed up to 40 million people.

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