Influenza death toll in U.K. rises to 39

Twelve more people have died from influenza this week in the United Kingdom, bringing the total to 39 since the beginning of October, according to the latest figures.

The Health Protection Agency reported that 36 of the deaths were caused by swine flu and three by influenza type B, according to the Independent. Of all the cases, only one was a person above the age of 65 and four of the fatalities were in children under the age of five.

The new figures come on the heels of an announcement that the number of flu cases rose by more than 40 percent last week. The Royal College of General Practitioners reported that the incidence of flu cases in England and Wales reached 124 per 100,000 in the week of December 26, up from 84 per 100,000 the week before.

"We are seeing a large amount of flu circulating across the country and would urge those people in an at-risk group to have their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible as this is the best way to protect themselves from flu this winter,” Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said, according to the Independent. "Anyone who has symptoms of flu-like illness should get medical advice as soon as possible and their GP will prescribe antivirals to reduce their symptoms and lessen the risk of them developing complications."