Lourdes nine year old dies as flu epidemic continues

Children have been especially affected by this winter's "severe" outbreak of flu (photo for illustration only)

A nine-year-old boy has died in hospital in Lourdes (Hautes-Pyrénées, Occitanie) as the severe flu epidemic continues across the country.

The boy, named Kylian, was admitted to the Lourdes CHU on Thursday this week (December 11), and died shortly afterwards. His mother, being a health professional, had tried to take care of him before his admission to hospital, but his condition was said to have worsened quickly, explains news source LCI.

He is one of 70 people known to have died in the flu epidemic this winter, which has been described by health minister Agnès Buzyn as especially severe.

The outbreak, which has reached the official “epidemic” threshold across the entire country, has seen 936,000 people consult their doctor for flu symptoms this winter, and has particularly affected young people, due to their “immature immune system”, Buzyn said.

Of the 70 to die so far, three have been aged under 15, and 38 aged over 65. The rest were aged 15-64, and the average age of those suffering is 40, proving that this flu has affected everyone, despite age and existing health conditions, according to figures released by health agency Santé Publique France.

Young people were also less likely to be immunised against flu, reports explained.

The public should continue to take precautions against spreading the illness, including avoiding too much contact with others when ill, washing hands regularly, and being careful to cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing, said national health advisor La Direction Générale de la Santé (DGS).

France is not the only country to have been affected by a serious epidemic either; England is also suffering one of its worst outbreaks in years, with hospitals in Calais opening their doors to help people from the UK as part of a 2016 partnership deal with South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group, reports news group France 3.

The Centre Hospitalier in Calais is offering “fast care” to NHS patients who have had planned operations or treatment cancelled in the UK because of the pressure on beds over winter. The CHU said it can see patients within four weeks and can handle a range of elective surgical procedures.

The Calais hospital reportedly has teams of English speakers on-hand to help communications between the French doctors, English doctors, and patients.

And yet, the idea has seen criticism from certain commentators in the UK, including Jonathan Ashworth, the Labour shadow Secretary of State for Health, who wrote: “Patients deserve better than being forced across the Channel to be cared for.”

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