Swine flu cases continue to fall
By Lilian Anekwe
The number of people consulting their GP with suspected swine has continued to fall, the latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show.
Figures published today reveal the number of GP-consultation for influenza-like illness fell from 30.9 per 100,000 of the population last week to 21.1 per 100,000 of the population.
But fewer than one in ten patients consulting GPs and the National Pandemic Flu Service actually have true swine flu, as proven by the HPA's virological sampling, compared with around half of cases in a normal flu season.
Speaking today, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said that though swine flu activity had fallen substantially since school closed earlier in the summer, the number of people in hospital and intensive care with swine flu remained unusually high.
‘It's very exceptional at this time of year to have people in hospital or intensive care with flu,' he said. 'It's an unusual feature to have it at this time of year even at the levels we have got.'
As of yesterday 263 people were hospitalised with swine flu, 30 were in intensive care and 54 people – ten more than last week – have died in England either as a direct result of, or after having contracted, swine flu. Five further deaths have been recorded in Scotland, bringing the total UK death toll to 59.
An estimated 11,000 cases of swine flu were diagnosed in the last week, Sir Liam said, again much lower than the 100,000 cases per week diagnosed earlier in the summer.
The apparent end of the first wave of the swine flu pandemic has forced the Government to revise its prediction, made by health secretary Andy Burnham in July, that cases of swine flu would spiral to ‘100,000 a day by the end of August'.
Negotiations between the Department of Health and GPC negotiators over the financing of the swine flu vaccination campaign in priority at-risk groups are ongoing.Swine flu cases have fallen again Swine flu cases have fallen again