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Swine flu cases have 'decreased significantly', latest figures show

By Lilian Anekwe

Weekly GP consultations for swine flu have ‘decreased significantly' in the last week although the number of deaths has increased, official figures show today.

The Health Protection Agency figures announced the rate of GP appointments for influenza-like illness fell sharply from 138 to 42 per 100,000 of the population in the week ending 2 August - the first week since the National Pandemic Flu Service has been fully operational.

Other figures also suggest the first wave of the pandemic has peaked in England, with HPA modelling estimating 30,000 new cases of swine flu were diagnosed in England last week, down from the 110,000 cases in the week before.

The Department of Health said there had been a small rise in the number of deaths from the virus, with 36 confirmed swine flu related deaths compared with 27 last week, although this is not thought to be suggestive of any change in the severity of the illness.

GPs have seen a decrease in estimated number of cases in all age groups and in all regions and the latest weekly pandemic flu report from the HPA found not only that the number of cases is falling, but also that the majority of cases continue to be mild.

‘There is no sign that the virus is changing. It is not becoming more severe or developing resistance to antivirals', the HPA report added.

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said all the trends were suggesting a further downward movement in cases, and the rising death toll was not unexpected.

‘We are seeing the increase in deaths we would have expected considering the level of people in hospital,' he said.

New cases of swine flu have 'decreased signficantly', according to the Health Protection Agency New cases of swine flu have 'decreased signficantly', according to the Health Protection Agency

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