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Number of swine-flu cases in England and Wales falls

18 December 2009

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The number of new cases of swine flu last week in England and Wales fell by 2,000 from the week preceding.

An estimated 9,000 new complaints were recorded. The number of deaths from swine flu now stands at 298, up from the toll of 283 the week before.

There were 523 people in hospital being treated for the condition, compared to 636. Of the people in hospital this week, 113 are in intensive care.

Frontline health workers are being vaccinated against swine flu to a greater degree than those immunised for seasonal flu last year, with 343,000 saying yes to it – three times the amount that took the ordinary flu vaccine.

There have been three million people in so-called priority groups, such as those with asthma, diabetes and heart disease, who have been vaccinated as well as 100,000 pregnant women.

The pandemic flu plans have worked “extremely well” according to the government’s Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson. He was very pleased with how the NHS had risen to the challenge.

The UK had been “lucky with the virus” and had averted his biggest fear, which was that the NHS would be overwhelmed.

If just one family had been spared the loss of a child or another family member at Christmas from swine flu, then that was a reason for throwing his hat up in the air, Sir Liam said. The country had been able to “fight for every life” when it came to dealing with swine flu, he added.

Copyright © Press Association 2009