Last years’ spike in deaths ‘due to dementia and flu’

A spike in the number of deaths in England and Wales last year was due to an increase in dementia and respiratory diseases, according to official figures. People with dementia were particularly vulnerable to flu, figures show. 2015 saw the largest rise in deaths in England and Wales in over a decade.
Prof John Newton of Public Health England added: "A range of factors can push up the number of deaths in older people in a particular year. "An outbreak of flu can have a big impact, especially on those who are most vulnerable or experiencing other illnesses, such as dementia.
"An increase in deaths will generally lead to a decrease in life expectancy that year, but we have seen these annual fluctuations before and the overall trend has remained positive. "
Hilary Evans of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the report by the Office for National Statistics "further underlines the devastating impact of dementia and the scale of the challenge we face".
The main flu virus in 2015 was a strain known to target older people. There were outbreaks in care homes and admissions to hospital and intensive care for flu were higher than usual.