Friday, 16 October 2009

Swine flu's wake-up call

I was talking to a lady earlier this week about swine flu and she said: "Swine flu? I thought that was all finished with?". And on Tuesday it was very much 'yesterday's news'. But today it's back with a vengeance. Deaths have jumped from 89 to 105. The number of new cases (although difficult to estimate) has increased from 18,000 last week to 27,000 this week. And the human side of the tragedy is highlighted by the deaths of two pregnant women (one in Wales and one in Scotland). Neither had any underlying health problems. At least no pregnant women will be in any doubt this morning that they are in the 'at risk' category. Vaccination starts in the UK on October 21st - postal strikes permitting.

In our region (the north west) the number of anti-virals collected in the North West on October 7th was 1,501, up from 1,306 on September 29th. And the number of people being treated in hospital has gone up to 62 from 54 a week ago.

The readers of this blog fired a number of questions at Cumbria's director of public health, Prof John Ashton. The answers are now online and my interview with him will be published shortly.

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