Nine die in flu tragedy as epidemic hits nursing home (Daily Express 1/1/1999)

Nine pensioners died within days of each other after a suspected flu epidemic swept the nursing home where they lived.

An investigation has been launched after it emerged all the victims suffered severe chest infections despite having the flu vaccinations.

Doctors made an emergency visit to the 40 bed Cheswardine Hall nursing home, near Market Drayton, Shropshire, yesterday, after public health officials learned of the deaths, which all happened in the past few days.

Health experts believe the dead, aged in their 90’s, were victims of a flu outbreak sweeping the region.

Chief executive of the Shropshire Health Authority Trust Colin Haydon confirmed he had ordered an inquiry.

He said: "Nine residents have died over the past few days. It looks like a flu outbreak hit a group of very elderly and frail people, despite having the full vaccine.

"There is no evidence of any care problem. The doctors have given what advice they can and no further medical support is required." The health authority stressed that the inquiry was being held to establish the excact cause of the deaths and ensure the well-being of the remaining residents.

Dr O’Neill, a consultant on disease control for the trustr, said flu vaccinations were not effective in the very elderly.

She added: "We are still investigating because it could be some other virus causingit.

"Hospitals and GPs have been very busy with the flu and I’m pretty sure that’s what was there."

Manager of Cheswardine Hall, Michael Harding, declined to comment last night.

The deaths follow reports that more than 45,000 people were confined to their beds over the Xmas break after a flu epidemic swept across Britain.

Flu causes thousands of deaths every year and doctors warned last month that anyone suffering from the virus should not visit elderly people because it could put their lives at risk.

And then of course, as you well know, we may suspect that there are other reasons that could be political or genocidal because the product is administered to large amounts of older people and as you well know in nursing homes where they receive flu vaccines there are many, many cases of flu shortly after the vaccination effort which indicates a total association and from a very crude point of view the perpetuation of life in older people particularly in nursing homes is not desirable to those that handle the funds. So of course we cannot prove this but it certainly presents a seductive hypothesis. Eva Snead, M.D.