Healthy living

New swine flu cases almost double in a week

Zone default image Outbreaks in over 60 schools

The number of new swine flu cases in England has almost doubled in a week, latest figures show.

Last week, an estimated 9,000 people were infected with the swine flu virus, compared to 5,000 people in the previous week. According to the Health Protection Agency, the biggest increase has been seen in children aged between 5 and 15.

In the UK, 66 schools have reported outbreaks, but Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson conceded this was probably an underestimate. However, he also said that swine flu rates in some areas were lower than those seen in July when cases peaked, suggesting that children may have been infected with the virus previously and not shown any symptoms.

The number of people visiting their GP with flu-like illness in England also rose sharply, with an increase from 12.9 to 16.2 consultations per 100,000 people. The increase occurred in all age groups.

Currently, 218 people have been admitted to hospital due to the virus, 75 more than the previous week. Hospital admissions have occurred in all age groups. In the UK, 82 people have died due to the virus.

The Agency also reported that most illness caused by the virus continues to be mild, but can be severe in a minority of cases.

To date, there have been two cases of swine flu infection in which the virus has been resistant to the anti-viral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

This article was published on Thu 24 September 2009

Image © CDC C. S. Goldsmith and A. Balish

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