15 more Swine Flu deaths reported in WalesPosted on January 13th, 2011 No comments
A FURTHER 15 flu-related deaths have been reported to the Assembly Government in the last week.
It brings the total number of flu deaths in Wales to 27 since October.
Officials said 49 people were in critical care in hospitals across the country, including 23 people aged 16 to 44; 19 aged 45 to 64; and seven over the age of 65.
Aneurin Bevan Health Board, which covers Gwent, said it had 12 patients with flu-like symptoms in critical care, the highest of any health board in Wales, while Betsi Cadwaladwr UHB closely followed with 11 patients in a critical condition.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cardiff and Vale each have nine patients in critical care; Cwm Taf in the Rhondda has five and Hywel Dda three.
It comes as figures released by Public Health Wales show a slight increase in the number of people contacting their GP with flu-like symptoms.
Last week there were 93 GP consultations for every 100,000 people living in Wales, up from 89.2 for the week ending January 2.
It was a slight increase on the week ending December 26, in which there were 92.1 consultations for every 100,000 people living in Wales.
The figures revealed the highest level of GP consultations was for people aged between 25 and 34, at a rate of 147 consultations per 100,000.
But experts believe the true number of people who have died as a result of flu this winter in Wales will be far higher.
Doctors in Wales this week began using stocks of the 2009 swine flu jab to vaccinate patients. It follows shortages of the seasonal flu vaccine in parts of Wales, including the nation’s largest hospital – the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Tony Jewell defended the decision to stock fewer seasonal flu vaccines for the 2010 flu season.
He said: “Whilst we have been working to make stocks of the vaccine that was developed against swine flu available to be used where supplies of seasonal flu vaccine have run low, we are now well into the flu season.
“People in at-risk groups are at a higher risk of complications from seasonal flu, and the best protection is early vaccination.
“A press and publicity campaign has been running since October and has included television, radio and bus adverts to let people know if they are in an at-risk group, and that the vaccine is available free of charge to those groups from GPs.
“We have also encouraged health boards and GPs to ensure that their patients and front line NHS staff are vaccinated against seasonal flu.”
He added: “Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity.
“Most healthy people will recover from flu-like illnesses within five to seven days with plenty of rest and drinking non-alcoholic fluids.”
A spokesman for Hywel Dda LHB said hospitals throughout the area were operating “at a very high capacity” due to the double-impact of higher levels of suspected seasonal and swine flu cases and increased numbers of general admissions.
As of yesterday, 13 patients with flu-like symptoms were being treated at Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest; five at Bronglais in Aberystwyth; one in Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli and another at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen.
Three of the patients were in intensive care.
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