Check here for the latest in swine flu news
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Swine flu victims are fighting for their lives

    Posted on January 8th, 2011 admin No comments

    FIFTEEN people in Worcestershire hospitals are fighting for their lives after contracting swine flu.

    As of yesterday, there were a total of 58 patients with flu-like symptoms, 26 at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and 22 at the Alexandra in Redditch.

    Meanwhile, a leading doctor has claimed that more than a third of GP practices have run out of vaccine.

    Dr Simon Parkinson, secretary of the Worcestershire Local Medical Committee, said GP practices in the county had been extremely busy as medical staff treated people with suspected swine flu – and stocks of the combined seasonal vaccine were running low. He said: “More than a third of Worcestershire practices have already run out of vaccine and the rest of us will use up our supply in the next few days.

    “Many of us have got some swine flu vaccine from last year left and we can use that for people who have not been immunised and are at risk.”

    As of yesterday there were 15 patients in critical care units with either suspected or confirmed flu (all strains) at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. In total 320 patients with flu-like symptoms have been treated at both hospitals since December 1 last year.

    Despite GP concerns, a spokesman for NHS Worcestershire, which holds the purse strings for county healthcare, said there would be enough vaccine to go around. She said: “NHS Worcestershire is aware of the national problem regarding a shortage in flu vaccine supplies and this has affected supplies in some Worcestershire GP practices.

    “The trust is helping movement of vaccines from practices with higher stocks to those with lower stocks, in addition we have asked practices to order more vaccines.”

    Sue Lloyd, assistant practice manager at St John’s House Surgery in St John’s, Worcester, said the practice had enough supplies at the moment but said that if everyone they had written to asked for a vaccine they may run out.

    She said: “Since there have been swine flu deaths people have been panicking and we have had lots of people not on the risk register asking for the vaccine and we have had to direct them to pharmacies where they can pay for it privately.”

    According to NHS Worcestershire, there are 3,000 flu vaccines available in GP practices across the county and some practices have been asked to order further stocks or administer left-over swine flu vaccine instead.

    The number of people in intensive care with suspected or confirmed flu in critical care units in the West Midlands has fallen over the last week from 88 last week to 78 this week.

  • Why young people are dying from swine flu

    Posted on January 8th, 2011 admin No comments

    ROBERTO Vivancos, Consultant in communicable disease control at the Mersey Health Protection Unit, said it was difficult to compare flu deaths, as they were not recorded prior to last year’s pandemic.

    He said: “Fifty deaths nationally may seem high but people do die from flu every year, we just did not record things in the same way before so there is no way of comparing.

    “Levels are high this year and this partly explains the deaths. “More are getting it than last winter but last year the pandemic began in summer.

    “Many people had flu then which reduced levels in the winter months because they gained immunity.

    “Also last year more people came forward to be immunised.

    “I believe levels of immunisation earlier in this flu season were quite low.

    “More people were given anti-virals, which prevented it spreading. and the cold weather this year could also be an additional factor.”

    He added most deaths were in people with underlying health conditions.

    Jonathan Read, lecturer in epidemiology at Liverpool University, said older people were often immune to swine flu, because it was the predominant strain between 1918 and the 1957.

    He said: “Younger people are more vulnerable to the H1N1 strain, because we only began to see it again last year.

    “Most of the people who have died will have had underlying health problems, and these are the people who should have the vaccine.

    “But the chances of healthy people being very ill with it are still very low.

    “For the vast majority flu of any kind is more of an inconvenience.”