Viruses Treatment Articles

Swine Flu Media Bulletin Issued At: 11am Tuesday 12 May 2009, Wales

May 31, 2017

- 0 confirmed cases in Wales.

- 76 people have been under investigation in Wales. Of these, swine flu has been ruled out in 71 cases, leaving 5 still under investigation. All of these are displaying, or have displayed, mild symptoms.

- Of the 5 people under investigation, four people were well when first identified, but reported recent flu-like symptoms following travel to Mexico. Blood tests are being undertaken on these individuals to see if they had the flu and to help the NPHS understand the pattern of the disease from the past. Their symptoms may or may not have been due to swine flu. Testing will be conducted in a number of weeks to check whether these people did have swine flu - scientifically it won't work before that. Investigations have shown that people they had close contact with did not catch flu from them when they were ill.

- 65 confirmed cases in the UK. Five cases in Scotland. 60 cases in England. All of these are responding well to treatment.

- Confirmed cases in 30 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA.

Comment from Welsh Assembly Government and National Public Health Service for Wales

- Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said:

"Although there have been no confirmed cases reported in Wales to date, we fully expect that there will be confirmed cases in due course.

"There have been cases of person to person spread in England and Scotland which reinforces the fact that everyone must continue to be vigilant and try to reduce the spread of the virus.

"It is right that we are preparing for the possibility of a global pandemic and the UK's arrangements continue to ensure that we are well-placed to deal with this new infection should it spread.

"People should follow good respiratory and hand hygiene to help prevent the spread of influenza - always using a tissue to catch sneezes, throwing away used tissues where germs can linger and regularly washing your hands, or cleaning them with a sanitising gel.

"A major public information campaign has got under way to remind people of this and highlight where they can get more advice on swine flu. Leaflets are being delivered to all households in the UK and will be sent first to areas most affected by the infections. We expect the majority of people in Wales to have them by Wednesday. This bilingual leaflet has been on the Assembly Government website since the end of last week.

"The Welsh Assembly Government is continuing to liaise with the National Public Health Service for Wales, Health Protection Agency, the other UK countries and international colleagues to monitor the situation closely.

"Although it is natural for people to feel apprehensive, we reassure the public that we are working to prepare for the arrival of the virus, have been for many years, and have robust procedures in place.

"Health professionals are fully aware of the correct procedures of investigating people or their close contacts who have recently returned from affected areas and have flu like symptoms. We have also reinforced the sources of advice and specialist services support to people and NHS Wales."

- Dr Roland Salmon, Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, National Public Health Service for Wales, said:

"We continue to advise that anyone who has flu-like symptoms and has travelled to one of the affected areas should stay at home and phone their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

"People should not go to Accident and Emergency Departments or to their GP surgery without ringing first, as this may risk spreading the infection. It also places undue pressure on the emergency services.

"It is inevitable that we will see some cases of swine flu in Wales, but it is also extremely likely that some people undergoing investigation will test negative as their symptoms could have several other causes.

"International developments mean that we must continue to be on our guard. Reports of transmission from human to pig, a confirmed UK case acquiring flu from Texas and the rate of spread in North America all demonstrate that the swine flu has pandemic potential.

"Although there are indications that this flu is mild, we know that seasonal flu can be severe, particularly for elderly and vulnerable people, so there is still good reason for us all to take action to reduce its effects.

"It is always good practice, at any time of year, to follow sensible hand hygiene such as covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible, and disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully in a bin.

"The National Public Health Service for Wales will assess any person with flu-like symptoms who has travelled to affected areas."

Public health advice and messages

- If you have returned from an affected area and have flu-like symptoms, stay at home, phone your GP or NHS Direct Wales and you will be assessed and receive treatment if necessary. Do not go into your GP surgery or Accident and Emergency department unless you are advised to do so or are seriously ill, as you may spread the illness to others.

- Further information including health advice can be found at www.wales, nphs.wales.nhs and hpa. You can also call the Swine Flu Information line on 0800 1 513 513 for recorded information, or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for health advice.

-- It is always good practice to follow respiratory and hand hygiene such as:

- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible.
- Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
- Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
- Cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product.
- Helping your children follow this advice.

Facemasks

- Although we are aware that facemasks are being given out to the public in Mexico, the available scientific evidence does not support the general wearing of facemasks by those who are not ill whilst going about their normal activities. We are, however, reviewing NHS supplies and stockpiles of facemasks for healthcare workers because they are likely to come into regular contact with people who may have symptoms.

Control measures

- The Welsh Assembly Government's Health Emergency Preparedness Unit has issued guidance to Local Health Boards on anti-viral distribution. The unit is co-ordinating work on identifying appropriate collection points and the necessary arrangements to support this process.

- The Emergency Co-ordination Centre (Wales) is in operation from 07:00 until 18:00 each day.

- People who have travelled to affected areas and have flu-like symptoms have been advised to stay at home and call NHS Wales Direct or contact their GP for health advice.

- A public information leaflet is being dropped through people's doors across the UK. All households can expect to receive a leaflet by 17 May. The bi-lingual leaflet can also be downloaded from www.wales . The leaflet is also available in the following languages: Portuguese, Polish, Gujarati, French, Farsi, Bengali, Urdu, Turkish, Tamil, Spanish, Somali, Punjabi and Chinese.

- Bilingual posters and leaflets are available for port health use in Wales.

- The National Public Health Service for Wales has provided advice to port health authorities on arrangements for returning travellers.

Features of the outbreak

- Cases of an influenza A Virus (H1N1) have been confirmed in a number of countries.

- Based on assessment of all available information and following several expert consultations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the level of influenza pandemic alert at phase 5.

- Phase 5 indicates that WHO considers a global pandemic to be imminent. This change is a signal to countries' governments to ramp up their pandemic preparations.

- More investigations and testing are needed to determine the severity of the disease and the ease with which it can spread. These investigations are currently underway with the support of the WHO.

- Testing has shown that the human swine influenza H1N1 can be treated with the antiviral oseltamavir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®).

- Evidence of sustained person to person spread in Mexico and the USA. Person to person transmission of swine flu has also been confirmed in England, Scotland, Canada, Spain and Germany.

Further information

- Further information for the public is available on the Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513

- Further information on Swine Flu and Pandemic Flu is available bilingually from nphs.wales.nhs

- Further information from the Welsh Assembly Government response is available bilingually at wales

Source
Welsh Assembly Government See our Map Of H1N1 Outbreaks See our Mexico Swine Flu Blog

View drug information on Relenza; Tamiflu capsule.