Sunday, May 17, 2009

NHS Choices News

Agreements have been signed between the UK Government and vaccine manufacturers to secure supplies of up to 90 million doses of pre-pandemic H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine before a pandemic begins, the Department of Health announced today.

The deals signed between Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Baxter, will enable production of pre-pandemic vaccine to begin as soon as possible.

The agreements could provide enough vaccine to protect the most vulnerable in our population before a pandemic is likely to arrive, without affecting our supply of seasonal flu vaccine.

There are over 85 confirmed cases of swine flu in the UK. All cases are linked to either previously confirmed cases or are returning travellers. All are responding to treatment and their symptoms are reported to be relatively mild.

The pandemic flu alert level from the World Health Organization (WHO) remains at Phase Five. Other recent developments include:

  • The Foreign Office has changed its advice on travel to Mexico and no longer advises against all but essential travel there.
  • A warning from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that counterfeit versions of antivirals such as Tamiflu may be being sold online.
  • Confirmed cases of the virus in South America and Asia, as well as Mexico, North America and Europe.
  • The launch of a pre-recorded swine flu telephone information line on 0800 1513 513 (or 0044 207 928 1010 from overseas).
  • Ongoing delivery of a leaflet on swine flu to all UK households. This is also available in other languages and formats.

How many cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the UK?

  • There are 87 people with confirmed swine flu in the UK. Due to the time-lag between the reporting of symptoms, taking swabs, testing and the confirmation of results, the new cases reported daily may have recovered and may now be symptom-free. All symptomatic patients are recovering at home. The majority of cases are associated with travel to Mexico.
  • In addition to these confirmed cases, the HPA is investigating several hundred suspected cases. The numbers will fluctuate daily as suspected cases are either confirmed or cleared.

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