The swine flu virus is gathering strength as it spreads and is likely to hit the UK as a flu pandemic in September or October, according to a leading expert.
So far, just 229 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the UK, but Professor John Oxford, expert in virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine, University of London, says that a pandemic will take hold as autumn begins.
He said that children going back to school, universities reopening and people returning to work after the summer break would give the virus the “opportunity” it needs.
“Unfortunately I don’t think this is going to die down,” Professor Oxford said. “At the moment it’s moving fairly quietly in the community.
“Problems at the moment are fairly low, with schoolchildren and the odd sporadic case in the community. But when children go back to school in September the virus has an opportunity, and normally it takes it.
“That’s the scenario we should prepare for and that’s what we are preparing for.”
He added that a pandemic is likely to affect the UK before a vaccine becomes available, but that the vaccine – expected in October or November – would only cover about 15% of the population anyway.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
“We have set up a dedicated communications board with information for the whole team, which contains daily up-to-date instructions provided plus the algorithms – each of our GPs has a dedicated folder of information which is updated daily and we have a master file with all of the relevant communications), this ensures that the whole team are kept up-to-date and can answer questions from the patients and act accordingly. Relevant telephone numbers/website addresses are at the side of the telephones and the information is also displayed for patients at the reception desk. We have registered our email addresses for the senior partner/clinical lead – both practice managers and our IM&T/data administrator with the PCT control and command centre. I have met with the other two practice managers in the health centre in order that I could pass on information and that we can ensure excellent lines of communications in order that we can work as a team and when given instructions by the PCT. We have identified a reception area and a separate consultation room, and are in the process of obtaining PC and printer. We have ordered additional supplies of hard surface cleaner and strengthen our spillage kit, we have had cleansing on each desk and have carried out basic training on hygiene, especially hand washing” – Lynne Bolton, West Yorkshire