Viruses Treatment Articles

Swine Flu UK Media Bulletin Issued At: 11am Thursday 25 June 2009

April 14, 2017

-- 9 confirmed cases in Wales, including one new case:

- A 22 year old male in Powys. He has been offered antivirals and is recovering. Close contacts have been identified. The NPHS is investigating the source of the infection.

-- 163 people have been under investigation in Wales. Of these, swine flu has been confirmed in 9 cases (see above) and ruled out in 137 cases, leaving 17 still under investigation. All of these are displaying, or have displayed, mild symptoms.

-- Of the 17 people under investigation, seven were well when first identified, but reported recent flu-like symptoms following travel to affected areas. 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.

-- No further details will be confirmed or denied about cases in order to protect their right to confidentiality.

-- There are now 3,255 laboratory confirmed cases in the UK - 9 cases in Wales, 686 cases in Scotland, 2,542 cases in England and 18 in Northern Ireland.

-- One person with swine flu in the UK - a case in Scotland - has died. The patient had underlying health conditions.

-- Swine flu cases have been confirmed in 108 countries. For the latest international figures for the spread of swine flu, visit the website of the World Health Organization at who.int

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

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

"We have made it clear that there would be cases in Wales and that the number of cases would rise. Therefore everyone must continue to be vigilant and try to reduce the spread of the virus.

"Our advice to the public remains the same, 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 killing germs by regularly washing your hands, or cleaning them with a sanitising gel. In short, catch it, bin it, kill it.

"So far the virus is generally mild in most people, but proving more severe in a small number of cases, and one person has died in Scotland.

"We have warned that we need to expect that, with large numbers of people contracting swine flu, there will be deaths, particularly in patients with underlying health conditions. Even with the seasonal flu, we do see excess deaths occuring.

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

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

"Because this particular type of swine flu is new, people have little or no immunity to it. For this reason, we know it will spread across the country eventually.

"The pandemic will reach different countries at different times. While the outbreak is dying away in Mexico it is still growing here.

"Whereas we are currently investigating and responding to individual cases and prescribing antivirals to all close contacts to prevent the quick spread of the disease, there will come a time when it is sensible to change this approach so that our focus moves to treating people who are ill and preventing illness in people who are most at risk. There will be a greater emphasis on local risk assessments by public health professionals.

"The World Health Organization considers the overall severity of the pandemic to be moderate. This means that most people recover from infection without the need for hospitalisation or medical care. Levels of clinically severe or fatal cases appear similar to levels seen with seasonal influenza.

"Nevertheless, the death of a patient in Scotland shows we must not be complacent about the effects of the virus in those with pre-existing health conditions.

"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. Flu is often confused with a bad cold but is in fact far more serious and leads to many deaths each year in Wales.

"We continue to advise that anyone who has flu-like symptoms and has returned from an area where swine flu is circulating, or who has been in close contact with a confirmed case, 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.

"The National Public Health Service for Wales will continue to assess any person with flu-like symptoms."

Public health advice and messages

-- If you have flu-like symptoms and have returned from an area where swine flu is circulating or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, 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 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 were 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 who are likely to come into regular contact with people who may have symptoms. The UK will receive an additional 227 million surgical facemasks and 34 million respirators. Wales will receive its proportionate share.

Control measures

-- Agreements have been signed between the UK Government and vaccine manufacturers to secure supplies of up to 90 million doses of H1N1 vaccine by the autumn. This will not affect the usual seasonal flu vaccination and will be made available to frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable people. Advance purchase arrangements are also in place to buy enough vaccine for the whole population.

-- 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.

-- People who have flu-like symptoms and have returned from an area where swine flu is circulating or who have been in close contact with a confirmed case have been advised to stay at home and call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 or phone their GP for health advice.

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

Features of the outbreak

-- Based on assessment of all available information and following several expert consultations, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the level of influenza pandemic alert at phase six on 11 June 2009.

-- Phase six indicates there is human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two countries in one World Health Organization region, with community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region.

-- A change to phase six means that vaccine manufacturers will need to meet the contractual obligations of advance purchase agreements for vaccines that countries, including the UK, have already agreed in the event of phase six being declared.

-- A crucial step towards large scale production of a vaccine against swine flu has been completed in the UK by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, part of the Health Protection Agency.

-- A strain of virus suitable for vaccine manufacture has now been produced and is being made available to the pharmaceutical industry and other flu laboratories.

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

-- 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

View drug information on Relenza; Tamiflu capsule.