Throwing "swine flu parties" in an attempt to get immunity against the virus while it is a fairly mild form is not a good idea, doctors say.

Reports have emerged of people intentionally mixing with friends who have flu.

Their reasoning is that it is best to be infected before the winter when the virus could become more deadly.

But public health expert Dr Richard Jarvis said such behaviour could undermine the fight against swine flu.

He also stressed while it was a mild flu, people would still be putting their health and the health of their children at risk.

Dr Jarvis, chairman of the British Medical Association's public health committee, has been working for the Health Protection Agency in the north west to help test, diagnose and treat people who have got swine flu.

He said: "I have heard of reports of people throwing swine flu parties.

"I don't think it is a good idea. I would not want it myself.

"It is quite a mild virus, but people still get ill and there is a risk of mortality."

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