10/12/2009

Drop In Swine Flu Cases

There has been a further drop in cases of swine flu across Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Health's latest flu pandemic bulletin.

No swine flu related deaths have been reported within the last week and GP consultation rates for the combined flu have decreased by 24% from 99.2 per 100,000 population to 74.9.

NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey commented: "I am very encouraged by the continued decrease in the key indicators.

"We are now experiencing the same level of flu activity as this time last year. This general downward trend of the figures is very encouraging and suggests that our preparations and plans are working."

Swine flu is particularly affecting children under five.

"Of nine new hospitalised cases this week, five of these were in children under five. This highlights the need to vaccinate these young children as soon as soon as possible," Mr McGimpsey said.
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Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, paid tribute to the work of staff in Trusts and primary care who are delivering the vaccination programme.

He said: "Planning this programme has been a major undertaking and I am also very appreciative of all those from a wide range of organisations who have worked together to make this possible."


The total number of swine flu related deaths across NI remains at 13, while the British Medical Journal's website, bmj.com, today revealed that there were 26 deaths out of every 100,000 cases of swine flu in England (a fatality rate of 0.026%).

The authors of the new research concluded that "the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century is considerably less lethal than was feared in advance".

See: Swine Flu Deaths 'Less Than Expected'

See: No Further Swine Flu Deaths In NI

(GK/BMcc)

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