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Swine flu tracker

Tuesday 22 December 18.16 56% of GPs believe that vaccinating healthy children under the age of five is not a good use of NHS resources, a Pulse survey has found.

Tuesday 22 December 18.16 56% of GPs believe that vaccinating healthy children under the age of five is not a good use of NHS resources, a Pulse survey has found.

The very latest on the swine flu outbreak. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a live map of reported incidents. This page will be updated regularly. To tell us what's going on in your area, leave a comment, email or give us a call on 0207 921 8104

Tuesday 22 December

18.16 56% of GPs believe that vaccinating healthy children under the age of five is not a good use of NHS resources, a Pulse survey has found. See the full poll results here.

Monday 7 December

10.33 European regulators warn that young children may experience fever after their second dose of the pandemic influenza vaccine Pandemrix. The EMEA say the second dose does increase the immune response, but they advise GPs to monitor the temperature of the vaccinated child and, if necessary, lower the fever by giving an antipyretic such as paracetamol.

Thursday 3 December

15.27 The Health Protection Agency has reported a 'significant decrease' in the number of new swine flu cases, giving an estimate of 22,000 over the past week.

The consultation rate for flu-like illness in England recorded by the RCGP scheme has decreased slightly to 38.6 per 100,000, down from 39.2 per 100,000 the previous week.

Thursday 26 November

15.16 The consultation rate for flu-like illness in England has increased slightly to 39.2 per 100,000 last week, compared to 35.9 in the week before. But swine flu cases have fallen from 53,000 to 46,000, the HPA estimates.

Wednesday 25 November

14.58 A statement from NHS Milton Keynes confirms that a five year old boy who died at Milton Keynes hospital on Sunday did have swine flu, but the virus was not the cause of his death.

Dr Diane Gray, deputy director of public health, said: 'This is a very sad event and until we know why this boy died it would be wise not to speculate as to the cause.'

Tuesday 24 November

12.15pm The Health Protection Agency announces research findings which suggest that one in five children will already have had the H1N1 strain of flu this year, with about half developing no symptoms.

Monday 23 November

16.20 Emberton school in Olney, Buckinghamshire, has temporarily closed pending the investigation of the death of a five-year-old boy with suspected swine flu.

Dr Diane Gray, deputy director of public health for NHS Milton Keynes, said: 'My sympathies go out to his parents, family and friends. We don't yet know the cause of this boy's death.

'At this stage, there is no need to change normal behaviour ? you should continue to go to school, work and any social activities.

Friday 20 November

17.10 The BBC reports that health officials in Wales are investigating a possible case of human to human transmission of a Tamiflu resistant strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus.

The strain has infected a small number of patients at the University Hospital Wales, in Cardiff, who had serious underlying health conditions.

11.50 GP leaders in Northern Ireland have reacted angrily to the Government's announcement that the swine flu vaccination campaign is to be extended to the under-fives, insisting 'there has been no agreement with GPs.'

Dr Tom Black, deputy chair of GPC Northern Ireland and a GP in Derry, said: 'We certainly welcome the extension of the H1N1 vaccination programme to children aged up to five years old. However, GPs are extremely disappointed that Minister McGimpsey did not consult with us before this announcement.'

'There has been no agreement with GPs to deliver the second phase of the vaccination programme.This programme needs to move forward on a four-country negotiation basis to ensure that H1N1 vaccinations are delivered safely to patients.'

Thursday 19 November

16.35 The estimated number of people diagnosed with swine flu fell to 53,000 from 64,000 cases last week, according to the latest Health Protection Agency figures.

The GP consultation rate for flu-like illness in England decreased slightly to 35.9 per 100,000 in the last week, compared to 37.8 in week 45.

13.43 The swine flu vaccination programme is to be extended to cover children under the age of five, according to reports.

Wednesday 18 November

17.59 Dr Chris Cooper, a GP in Archway, north London, says patients in priority groups at his practice have shown plenty of interest in the vaccine.

'Swine flu clinics are proving popular, getting fully booked and over booked - but we're still nowhere near using our first 500 doses,' he says.

09.56 The Department of Health has issued a statement in response to Pulse's swine flu exclusive this morning, revealing widespread resistance from patients to taking up the vaccine, which has been covered widely in the national press.

A DH spokesperson told the Telegraph: 'We have not set a target for vaccination – there is no target.'

'We recommend that people in the at-risk groups accept the offer of vaccination.'

'This is because people in the risk groups are more likely to be severely ill if they catch swine flu, and the vaccine provides the best protection against the disease.'

'It is too early to speculate on uptake rates. GPs are working as quickly as they can to reach as many patients as possible with their initial supplies – some of which were still being delivered last week.'

Friday 13 November

13.14 Swine flu has now killed almost 4,000 people in the US, including 540 children, officials say.

The BBC reports that the latest figure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on a new system for calculating the estimated death toll, which has been signficantly revised upwards from a previous estimate of 672.

Thursday 12 November

15.18 The estimated number of new swine flu cases in England fell by almost a quarter last week, according to the Health Protection Agency.

The latest figures published by the HPA show there were an estimated 64,000 new cases in England last week.

The consultation rate for flu-like illness in England, recorded by the RCGP, also fell, from 37.7 per 100,000 in week 44 to 36.0 per 100,000 in week 45.

However the HPA warns: 'The recent half-term school holidays may have continued to influence the figures this week, and so it is difficult to predict future trends.'

12.30 The distribution strategy for the swine flu vaccine has come under fire amid reports that a supply shortage has forced larger GP practices to put their vaccination campaigns on hold.

Wednesday 11 November

10.38 Dr James Larcombe, a GP in Sedgefield, County Durham, says his practices has been recruiting volunteers to help run concurrent seasonal and swine flu vaccination campaigns.

'We are relatively well prepared and are trying to run the flu campaign and the swine flu campaign together where possible,' he says. 'But I suspect the different availabilities, indications and schedules of the vaccines means that they will often have to be given separately.'

'The potential workload is causing our nurses, in particular, some concerns; we have been asking volunteers for extra time and using a retired nurse to help.'

Monday 9 November

13.12 A bowel cancer screening programme in Northern Ireland has been delayed because funding for it has been diverted to tackle swine flu.

The BBC reports that the cost of swine flu 'is now impacting on other services', and the screening programme - which had been due to start next month - has now been delayed until April 2010.

Thursday 5 November

16.00 Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show there were an estimated 84,000 new swine flu cases in England last week, up 8%.

But the rise is less than in previous weeks, and the flu-like illness rate in England recorded through the RCGP scheme fell to 37.7 per 100,000, comparedt to 42,8 per 100,000 in the previous week.

13.40 Conservative health spokesperson Andrew Lansley has called for the Government to roll out a swine flu vaccination programme for school children and college students.

He said: 'For weeks now, behind the scenes, I have urged the Government to go further: they should extend the vaccination programme to school children and college students.'

'Last week in America, I met swine flu experts at the Health and Human Services Department. Their epidemiological data shows that the incidence and severity of swine flu is significantly greater in the under 24 age group, compared to the rest of the healthy population. They have called all young people for vaccination, including a school-located vaccination programme. I think we should follow their lead.'

'A school-based programme needs preparation and needs to be coordinated with vaccine availability. I urge the Government to make the decision and put the plan in place.'

12.00 NHS Medway has begun vaccinating frontline healthcare workers against swine flu.

More than 50 Medway Community Healthcare staff were vaccinated at St Bartholemew's Hospital in Rochester on Tuesday.

Wednesday 4 November

18.20 The total number of deaths in Scotland related to swine flu has risen to 31.

The Scottish Government said the latest person with the virus to die was from the Ayrshire and Arran region.

09.42 - A US study has found that swine flu kills more than one in 10 of those it affects severely enough to put in hospital.

Researchers from the California Department of Public Health found that up to 20% of older patients who were hospitalised with the virus died, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Treatment in intensive care was required in almost a third of cases, and deaths were observed in all age groups.

Tuesday 3 November

14.54 Londonwide LMCs have issued their latest swine flu update, with advice on the vaccination of pregnant women.

'It is clear that that a few recent media stories have caused anxiety and apprehension in some pregnant women about receiving the swine flu vaccine, and an understandable paucity of evidence uncertainty among some clinicians in our practices,' the update reads. Read the whole thing here.

10.10 Dr Lawrence Addlestone, a GP in Salford in Manchester, one of the re-emerging hotspots, is already halfway through the seasonal flu vaccination campaign.

His practice - which has seen lots of extra cases - is now gearing up for swine flu vaccination. 'We hope we are ready but we are really busy without this additional burden,' he says.

Monday 2 November

17.20 A 31-year-old woman in Salford who contracted swine flu while pregnant has died after giving birth, it was announced today.

The BBC reports that the woman, who has not been named, died in the early hours of Saturday. The coroner has yet to rule on the cause of the woman's death.

12.57 The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is 'expected to recommend that the vaccination of 10 to 18-year-olds begins by the end of the year', according to a report in the Sunday Times.

Friday 30 October

13.25 GP practices will be expected to vaccinate at least half of all patients in the priority at-risk group against swine flu.

The target was revealed in details of the swine flu DES published by the Government today.

12.04 'Extremists' are targeting hospitals in Birmingham and handing out leaflets to patients to dissuade them from taking part in the swine flu vaccination campaign, the Times reports.

11.00 Apologies for posting being somewhat intermittent lately - we'll now be updating the tracker much more frequently so please check back for the latest updates.

Wednesday 21 October

09.35 Canada annouces it's first case of H1N1 in Turkeys believed to be passed on by human handlers. This follows just days after the recent US announcement of it's first outbreaks of swine flu in pigs.

08.00 The Swine flu Vaccination campaign starts in the UK today. Australia, China and the U.S have alreday begun their campaigns.

Friday 16 October

14.30 The British swine flu death toll has exceed 100 report many of the national newspapers as they announce the plans for the nationwide vaccination campaign to begin nextc week. A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that one vaccine - being developed by GlaxoSmithKline, will be delivered in one dose. The Baxter vaccine will be delivered in two doses three weeks apart.

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that the vaccine being developed by GlaxoSmithKline will be delivered in one dose, while the Baxter vaccine will be delivered in two doses three weeks apart.

Friday 25 September

11.35 The European Medicines Agency has given the go-ahead for the swine flu vaccination to be granted European-wide authorisation.

The recommendation to the European Commission means the UK's vaccination programme is a step closer to being rolled out.

09.00The battle against swine flu has led to an unexpected health hazard for convicts and prison officers.

Dispensers at a category-C prison in Portland, Dorset, had to be removed after prisoners got drunk on the hand gel and started a brawl, report several of today's papers.

08.00 At least 66 schools in England have reported outbreaks of swine flu in the past week, according to the Department of Health.

The news comes as an increase in the number of cases was reported to have risen from 5,200 cases in the previous week to 9,000 last week, appearing to show the start of the long-predicted second wave of infections.

Thursday 17 September

15.30 Rates of flu-like illness in England are starting to rise again, according to the Health Protection Agency.

In the week ending 13 September GP consultation rates for flu-like illness in England were 12.9 per 100,000 - up from 8.6 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Tuesday 15 September

10.36 GlaxoSmithKline is refusing to disclose what the UK Government paid for up to 132 million doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, the Independent reports.

Wednesday 9 September

16.40 The Queen has had to cancel a visit to Gordonstoun School in Scotland planned for next week after a suspected outbreak of swine flu among pupils, according to reports.

Tuesday 1 September

10.45 More than 100 people in India have now died of swine flu.

The BBC says there have been nearly 4,000 cases of H1N1 reported across the country, with deaths reported in at least eight Indian cities.

Friday 28 August

11.09 The latest estimates from the Department of Health show a further reduction in GP consultation rates for influenza-like illness, from 21.1 to 16.5 per 100,000 people in England in the week ending 23 August.

5,000 new cases were reported last week in England, and deaths in the UK rose to 66, seven more than last week.

Thursday 27 August

11.04 Calls to NHS 24 in Scotland increased by 60 percent during the peak of the first wave of the swine flu pandemic.

Dr George Crooks, medical director of NHS 24, told the Scotsman: 'From April through to early summer, we saw an increase in calls to NHS 24 on an order of magnitude of 25 to 30 per cent from predicted volumes, rising at times to 60 per cent increase in call volume directly related and indirectly related to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.'

'The pandemic situation has been a very significant challenge for NHS 24, in terms of managing this in partnership with others, we have played not just an important role, but played it very well.'

Wednesday 26 August

18.10 The NHS has spent almost £40 million on responding to the swine flu pandemic so far, Pulse reveals.

Full story here

Tuesday 25 August

11.49 A teenage girl from Lancashire who had swine flu has died, according to reports.

The Gazette reports that the girl, from the Preston area, died on Sunday. A spokesperson for NHS North West said that the death was being investigated.

Monday 24 August

11.48 The Department of Health has allocated £2.25million for 'urgent swine flu research'.

Results are expected by the end of the year, and will bolster the body of evidence available to the Government's expert advisors experts when making policy decisions.

The work will be led by research centres in Leicester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Manchester and London.

10.58 The first person with swine flu to die in Northern Ireland was buried yesterday in the village of Ahoghill, north Antrim, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Friday 21 August

17.35 Healthy patients who catch swine flu do not need to be treated with antivirals, the World Health Organisation has said.

Thursday 20 August

13.17 The number of GP-consultation for influenza-like illness has fallen from 30.9 per 100,000 of the population last week to 21.1 per 100,000 of the population, according to the HPA's latest weekly swine flu report.

10.33 The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a statement on a suspected interaction between Tamiflu and warfarin, after receiving several reports that blood clotting time could be prolonged due to interactions between the two drugs.

A spokesperson said: 'The available evidence is insufficient to establish whether such cases are a true drug interaction or whether blood clotting control in these patients may have been affected by illness.

'Therefore there is no change to the product information for Tamiflu and patients should continue to take Tamiflu as advised by their healthcare provider.

'Doctors and healthcare professionals are encouraged to be vigilant and report any sign of INR fluctuation to the MHRA so that we can continue to monitor this issue and keep it under close review.'

Wednesday 19 August

13.36 NHS Lincolnshire has closed its Antiviral Collection Points as the number of patients contracting swine flu begins to drop

The PCT said that antiviral collection has been relocated to seven local pharmacies.

Tuesday 18 August

09.38 Up to a third of nurses will refuse to be vaccinated against swine flu because of safety concerns, according to a new poll.

The survey of 1,500 nurses, released by Nursing Times and covered in the national press today, found just 37 percent definitely plan to have the jab. 30 percent said they would not be vaccinated, while 33 percent they were unsure.

Monday 17 August

15:10 GPs have been warned to look out for cases of nerve disease Guillian-Barre syndrome when the swine flu vaccine is introduced next month. The HPA says the risk of developing the nerve disease is increased after a flu-like illness.

13:55 The Government's own expert panel on swine flu has claimed that ministers ignored their advice on the use of tamiflu because they feared a public backlash if antivirals were withheld. Committee member Professor Robert Dingwall told the Guardian that the Committee advised it that there was no need for the widespread use of Tamiflu.

Thursday 13 August

17:11 Department of Health announces priority groups for swine flu vaccination programme. As Pulse revealed earlier this month, first in line will be pregnant women, under-65s with a chronic illness and healthcare professionals. These groups are expected to all receive their vaccinations by the end of December.

13.09 The MHRA has received more than 400 reports of suspected adverse reactions to Tamiflu - including 125 in the past week - new figures show. More follows.

Tuesday 11 August

16.06 West Midlands GPs have 'seamlessly accomodated' the additional swine flu workload in their area - one of the country's major hotspots - according to the GPC.

Dr Grant Ingrams, secretary of GPC West Midlands, said: 'We recently reviewed the role that general practice has taken in the swine flu pandemic and were pleased to find that general practice arose to the challenge. Both normal and out of hours general practice seamlessly accommodated the significant increases in work load that have been associated with the swine flu. General practices have coped with additional appointments, telephone consultations and home visits with no additional resources.'

'Every practice and out of hours service has seen an increase in workload, with some areas reporting increases of three to four hundred percent at times.'

11.10 GMTV presenter Andrew Castle has told how his daughter 'almost died' after taking Tamiflu, following an outbreak of swine flu in South London.

Monday 10 August

11.06 The country's first swine flu vaccine trial is being carried out. 175 people have enrolled in the trial at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, and a statement from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust says results of the trial, which is testing different doses of the vaccine, may be available in four to six weeks time.

10.55 The actor who appears in the Department of Health adverts teaching people how to prevent the spread of swine flu has ad the virus himself.

Press reports say David McCusker, 30, was quarantined two weeks ago but has since recovered.

10.50 Healthy patients are lying to call centre operators at the National Pandemic Flu Service in order to obtain Tamiflu, RCGP chair Professor Steve Field has warned.

Professor Field told the Observer: 'Some people are deceiving the national flu line in order to get Tamiflu. Doctors tell me that some patients are undoubtedly misusing the service.'

Friday 7 August

10.42 Ministers are drawing up plans to carry out swine flu vaccination for the UK's 8.5 million pupils at immunisation posts in every school, the Guardian has claimed.

The newspaper quotes a 'senior source involved in Whitehall planning' as saying: 'The general principle of schools being the ideal, logical place to do this is well establish. They have captive audiences.'

However the Department of Health insist that the exact form of the immunisation strategy has not yet been agreed. 'The chief medical officer has said that he expects GPs to be the bedrock of the programme,' a spokesperson said.

Thursday 6 August

17.34 There have now been a total of 36 swine flu-related deaths in the UK, the Department of Health has confirmed.

14.55 The number of UK swine flu cases has ''decreased significantly', according to the Health Protection Agency.

New figures show 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.

14.36 The first swine flu vaccines are likely to be licensed for use in the general population by September, according to the World Health Organisation.

The global health body has published two briefings today - one a statement reassuring the public that licensing procedures are 'rigorous and do not compromise safety or quality controls', and the other a likely timeline for the pandemic influenza vaccine manufacturing process.

Wednesday 5 August

11.08 A swine flu call centre worker has been sacked - after contracting swine flu.

The Daily Mail reports that Emily Morgan, 21, from Plymouth, Devon, was told by a security guard she was on a list of leavers who were not allowed in the building, after attempting to return to work.

Ms Morgan was diagnosed with swine flu via the internet-based Pandemic Flu Service after just one day at work in the £6-an-hour role.

Tuesday 4 August

12.31 There has been a significant increase in the number of people in Northern Ireland contacting their GPs about swine flu, the Department of Health has said.

Figures from the department show that the number increased to 134 per 100,000 of the population last week from 42.1 per 100,000 the week before - an increase of 219%.

10.07 Patients are well aware of the symptoms to describe if they wish to obtain Tamiflu from the National Pandemic Flu Service, a GP has warned.

Dr Shan Whitear, GP in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, said: ‘People know what symptoms to say they have. There was one case of one of my patients being prescribed Tamiflu by the out-of-hours service who subsequently had lobar pneumonia. Since the call line calls have been less, but there are still a lot of patients being directed back at us.'

Monday 3 August

18.30 GPs swamped with extra swine flu work have been forced to halt medical reports relating to insurance claims.

Matt Rann, head of underwriting at Aegon, told the Scotland on Sunday: 'We've had letters from doctors' surgeries saying all paperwork is being put to one side to allow GPs to care for their patients.'

'We are concerned that if the epidemic worsens in the autumn, as predicted, this will lead to an admin gridlock, with consumers unable to get the cover they require.'

16.14 Dr Saj Azfar, a GP in Rochdale in Lancashire, believes the Government's swine flu helpline has definitely reduced workload.

'It has definitely had an effect,' he said. 'I think people who are criticising the Government for being slow at setting it up are a little unfair as it is a massive undertaking, but I feel it could be publicised better.'

'We have just about managed to maintain normal service as well as pulling one GP off surgeries to do swine flu, but those of us with outside interests such as PBC have had to put those meetings on hold.'

09.48 Dr Caroline Davies-Wragg, a GP in Farningham, Kent, says that many non-flu patients are staying away from the surgery where possible.

'We are getting more [swine flu] enquiries, but also I think people with no flu don't want to come to the surgery in case they catch something - so the workload is the same,' she says.

'Personally, I don't think patients need Tamiflu if not at particular risk until they have been ill for more than 48 hours, as most people are getting over it by then and it makes you feel sick.'

Friday 31 July

16.02 Suspected cases of swine flu are occurring more frequently even in remote areas, according to one GP.

Dr Rob Colebrook, a GP on the Ardnamurchan peninsula near Fort William in Scotland, reports that he has diagnosed four people with flu over the telephone in the past seven days.

12.59 GPs in the West Midlands have seen swine flu calls double in the past week despite an overall plateau of cases.

The Birmingham Post reports that rates of GP consultations in the West Midlands have risen from 105 per 100,000 of the population last week to 213 per 100,000 this week.

11.36 GPs and other healthcare professionals will be vaccinated first in the Government's swine flu vaccination campaign, Pulse has learned from a senior Government adviser.

Read the full exclusive story here.

09.41 Lloyds Pharmacy is to supply Tamiflu through its online pharmacy.

Thursday 30 July

17.05 GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey has hit back at the Daily Mail's claim that the BMA have demanded a £27000 'bonus' to run a swine flu vaccination campaign.

He told Pulse the £7.51 figure quoted in the story was 'completely inappropriate'. 'We're not seeking to make any money from the vaccination campaign. The Daily Mail has conflated certain figures for its own politicial agenda.

16.20 The Chief Medical Officer confirms there have been 27 deaths confirmed to have been caused by swine flu i

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