Monday, April 27, 2009

UK swine flu cases confirmed

Medeshi
UK swine flu cases confirmed
Monday, April 27
Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the first British cases of deadly swine flu. Skip related content
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Two people have tested positive for the virus and are being treated in isolation in hospital in Airdrie, near Glasgow, while seven more people among 22 who have been in contact with them have developed "mild symptoms" not confirmed as swine flu.
The pair developed symptoms after returning from a trip to Mexico, where more than 100 people have died following an outbreak of the H1N1 virus.
Ms Sturgeon added: "I would reiterate that the threat to the public remains low and that the precautionary actions we have taken over the last two days have been important in allowing us to respond appropriately and give us the best prospect of disrupting the spread of the virus."
Health Secretary Alan Johnson earlier said ministers have put in place "enhanced" port health checks on passengers arriving in the UK and will use its stockpile of anti-viral drugs if the virus begins to spread widely.
Spain earlier confirmed Europe's first case of swine flu. The man, who had recently been in Mexico, is said to be responding well to treatment and was not in a serious condition.
The European Union's health chief has warned non-essential travel to swine flu-hit parts of Mexico and the US be postponed.
The disease has claimed 103 lives in Mexico with as many as 1,600 carrying the virus. Cases have been confirmed in countries including the US, New Zealand and Canada.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are up to 45 cases of swine flu in five states, including 20 more cases at a New York school, while people who have had contact with confirmed cases are also developing flu-like symptoms.
Passengers returning to Heathrow from Mexico City are being kept aboard their planes while health officials ask them if they feel unwell. But other travellers at Gatwick airport said they had not been stopped as they returned to Britain.
The Government said it has enough medicine to treat half the population.
The NHS has a stockpile of more than £500 million worth of the Tamiflu anti-viral drug, which has proved effective on patients in Mexico, and scientists are working on developing a vaccine against the new strain.
World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan said the outbreak, caused when the H1N1 strain associated with pigs crossed over to the human population, constituted a "public health emergency of international concern".

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