Saturday, 16 May 2009

UK's preventive use of Tamilflu effective

Unlike USA that registered more deaths.

Seven swine flu cases confirmed
Production is to begin on a swine flu vaccine as soon as possible

Seven new cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Britain as the
Foreign Office lifted its travel restrictions into Mexico.

Four children in London and three people in Greenock, Scotland have
the virus, with UK cases now at 85.

The UK government has signed a deal to secure up to 90 million doses
of a new H1N1 flu vaccine by December.

Confirmed cases worldwide rose by more than 1,000 in 24 hours to
7,520, with a new death reported in Texas.

In all, 66 people have died of the virus.

The Texas death takes the death toll in the United States to five.

Health officials said the 33-year-old man from Corpus Christi, who
suffering from other medical conditions, had died earlier in May, but
the cause of death was only confirmed on Friday.

Local advice

A decline in the number of reported new cases in Mexico means the UK
Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed its advice on travel to

Officials have removed previous advice to avoid all but essential
travel, but ask British nationals to continue to follow local advice
on precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.

See a map of confirmed UK cases

In the UK, the four new cases in England were children in London who
were linked to previously confirmed cases.

The new confirmed cases in Scotland were a mother and her five-year-
old son, plus a 16-year-old girl.

All three had been among five "probable" cases that led to a nursery
and primary school being closed in Greenock, as a precaution, on
Tuesday. Test results are still being awaited for another mother and
her three-year-old child.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the three patients were
all experiencing mild symptoms, and were not giving cause for clinical

Unlicensed websites

Meanwhile the UK government deal on vaccines will speed up access to
the vaccine - which will be available regardless of whether a pandemic
is officially declared - said Health Secretary Alan Johnson.

He said Baxter and GlaxoSmithKline would begin production of the
vaccine - which would provide immunity from the virus - as soon as

Agreements had already been in place to ensure two doses of vaccine
for each person in the UK - but that contract would only have kicked
in once a pandemic was under way.

If people do want to buy medicines over the internet, we urge them to
consult their GP first
Department of Health

The updated deal means the 90m doses will be available as soon as they
are ready, regardless of whether the World Health Organization has
declared a global pandemic, known as Phase 6.

Meanwhile warnings have been issued about unlicensed websites selling
the antiviral drug Tamiflu to worried members of the public.

In the UK, the government has secured 50m doses of Tamiflu and the
alternative antiviral drug Relenza. Unlike vaccines, which are
preventative, antivirals are used to treat the virus once it is
already present.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the 50m doses were
enough antivirals to cover 80% of the population and those who needed
them would get them.

"If people do want to buy medicines over the internet, we urge them to
consult their GP first and ensure that the website is operated from a
registered pharmacy premises."

Mr Johnson said the localised cases of swine flu in the UK had so far
been mild.

"Our strategy of containing the spread with antivirals appears to have
been effective in reducing symptoms and preventing further spread of
infection," he said.

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