Three more confirmed UK swine flu cases as child dies in the US
By Steve Nowottny
Three confirmed cases of swine flu have been identified in England as fears grow over the spread of swine flu.
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that a 12-year old girl in Torbay, Devon, an adult in Birmingham and an adult in London - all of whom recently visited Mexico - have contracted swine flu. The patients are said to be responding well to treatment.
The girl's school in Torbay has been closed and all pupils are to be offered antiviral drugs.
The three cases are the first to be confirmed in England, and follow two confirmed cases in a couple from Polmont, near Falkirk in Scotland.
Meanwhile health chiefs in the US have confirmed that a 23-month old child from Texas is the first fatality from the disease outside Mexico.
It comes as the Department of Health announced it is urgently ordering more face masks to protect GPs and other healthcare workers in the event of a flu pandemic.
Amid growing fears that the current swine flu outbreak could develop into a pandemic, the Department of Health said it was doing everything it could to increase stocks ‘as a matter of priority'.
Some reports suggest the Department will order as many as 30 million facemasks.
There is no conclusive evidence that facemasks would protect the general public in the event of a pandemic, and health experts even fear that incorrect use of masks could further expose people to infection.
But facemasks would be expected to be worn by healthcare staff treating patients suffering from flu symptoms.
A Department of Health spokeperson said: ‘We have a limited stock of specialist facemasks and NHS hospitals have their own supply of protective equipment – though these are used for all sorts of treatment.'
‘We have published guidance on infection control in hospitals and surgeries, and advice to staff treating or caring from patients with flu symptoms. And we're doing everything we can to increase stocks as a matter of priority.'
The Department also said today it would distribute a leaflet next week to every household in the country with information about the current flu outbreak and preventative measures.More face masks are being ordered for GPs as the spine flu virus spreads More face masks are being ordered for GPs as the spine flu virus spreads Pulse's swine flu tracker