Second case of swine flu confirmed on Merseyside
THE husband of a Merseyside woman who was confirmed as having swine flu on Friday has now also caught the virus.
It brings the total number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the UK to 18 as of yesterday.
The Merseyside couple are believed to be from Maghull and neither has been admitted to hospital. In a statement, NHS North West said: “Both people had recently visited Mexico together.
"Both are being treated at home and are described as being quite well. Family members and other close contacts of the couple were routinely treated with anti-viral medication as a precautionary measure and they continue to be monitored.”
Local health officials have urged Merseysiders not to panic and say the region is well prepared.
More than 630 people in the UK are undergoing tests for the disease.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said that the authorities had to be prepared for the possibility of a more serious “second wave” when the colder, wetter weather returns in the autumn.
“Our evidence from all previous pandemics is that you get two phases. You get a first wave that is often very mild and then you get a much more serious wave that comes along in the autumn and the winter,” he said.
“So we have to not just deal with this outbreak now, but prepare, perhaps, for a second phase further down the line.”
Although the World Health Organisation has declared a phase 5 alert level – one step short of declaring a pandemic – Mr Johnson said that the measures taken in the UK had proved effective in limiting the spread of the disease.
He added: “We are going to continue to monitor the situation. While we hope for the best, we have to prepare for other eventualities and that is what we are doing. At the moment, the policy is working very well.”
The extra cases came as World Health officials appeared to play down the virulence of the flu strain, advising that there was no evidence the swine flu virus was spreading in a sustained way outside North America.
Dr Michael Ryan, WHO director of global alert and response, said there was “no evidence of sustained community spread outside of North America”.
He also praised European nations’ handling of cases and said events did not seem out of control.
There have been at least 615 confirmed cases worldwide.
Mexico has cut its suspected death toll by 75 to 101, indicating the outbreak may not be as bad as initially feared.
The confirmed death toll remains at 16 in Mexico and one other involving a 21-month old Mexican boy who had travelled to the US.
ANYONE with any concerns can telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647. THE POST