Swine flu 'may have peaked' as consultations plateau
By Lilian Anekwe
The rate of GP consultations and swine flu cases has begun to plateau, the latest figures for England show.
The consultation rates for influenza-like-illness, which includes those with suspected and true swine flu, fell to 138 per 100,000 of the population in the week ending July 26th, down from 155 per 100,000 of the population the week before.
An estimated 110,000 cases of swine flu have been diagnosed in the last week, a 10% increases in the 100,000 cases recorded in the previous week.
The levelling off of the number of national cases, and then drop in GP consultation rates, prompted chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson to say that England may be experiencing early signs of the passing of the first wave of the swine flu pandemic.
Data from the 3,300 practice-wide QSurveillance system, compiled by a team at the University of Nottingham, shows the daily consultation rate levelled off at 225 per 100,000 of the population, compared with 221 per 100,00 of the population the week before.
The decrease in consultation rates coincides with the start of school holidays, and the introduction of the national pandemic flu service which has eased the pressure on GPs and primary care, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said.
The DH estimates that 150,000 people have accessed Tamiflu via the National Pandemic Flu Service since it launched in England last Thursday.
Sir Liam said: ‘Since last week we have seen a down turn in the number of consultations. I don't think we have quite passed it but we're just a little bit more confident that we are seeing a down turn in this country.
‘These figures reinforce the growing suspicions that it's slowing down. That does not mean that it won't go back up in the winter. We suspect that it will. But it seems the virus has had its fill of us for now.'Swine Flu