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Nearly 6,000 more flu-related deaths this year in Belgium

12:35 08/06/2015

In the first four months of this year, there were 41,479 flu-related deaths in Belgium, 5,827 more than in the same period in 2014, or an increase of 16%, report various Belgian media based on figures from the National Register. The cold winter and an inadequate vaccine contributed to the sharp increase, according to virologist Marc Van Ranst.

"There were significantly more cases of flu this year compared to last year," explains Van Ranst. "The World Health Organization (WHO), admitted during a meeting in February that a sub-optimal choice was made for one of the vaccine’s three ingredients, the H3N2-component, resulting in a less efficient vaccine. These things can happen, usually once every seven or eight years."

Van Ranst adds that the "excess mortality" rate at the beginning of the year should balance out over the course of the year. "And from the end of September another vaccine will come on the market that will provide better protection against the flu,” he says.

Written by Robyn Boyle



There are only about 100,000 deaths per year in Belgium from all causes and flu has historically not been the leading one, according to a quick web search.

If there were 41,000 from flu alone in the first four months it would mean that the overall death rate for Belgium has accelerated dramatically. Can you please check these figures?

Jun 8, 2015 12:51
Robyn Boyle

16% is indeed a dramatic increase, but one which experts expect to "balance out", meaning less deaths due to flu-related illness for the rest of the year.

Jun 8, 2015 14:10

Robyn Boyle, your statement, a few years ago, was indeed *incorrect*.

The original article in Flemish you are referring to and linking to is *not* stating that there were as many flu-related deaths as you are wrongly stating.

It clearly indicates that there was a total of 41,479 deaths in Belgium, in the first four months of the year, due to *all* causes, flu being just one of them.

Your article is incorrect and misleading as written. Could you please correct it?

Mar 18, 2020 12:27