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Saturday 24th March 2018

Swine flu not as lethal as first thought

11th December 2009

The chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has said the swine flu pandemic is not as lethal as first feared.

swine flu

A study led by Sir Liam on a review of deaths to early November and reported in the British Medical Journal, found a death rate of just 0.026% in those infected.

Two-thirds of deaths were in groups now eligible for vaccination.

The findings come as latest figures show there were 11,000 new cases last week, half of the number reported the previous week.

In Scotland, the number of cases fell from 12,300 to 8,900 with a significantly lower number of cases in Northern Ireland and Wales.

In the UK, 283 people have died from swine flu.

Sir Liam said: “The first influenza pandemic of the 21st century is considerably less lethal than was feared in advance.”

With priority groups identified for immunisation including those with health problems and pregnant women, Sir Liam has urged people to come forward for the jab as figures emerged that only 2.3 million of the 9 million people eligible had been immunised to date.

Next to have the vaccination are children under the age of five.

After some delay in getting GPs to administer the jab, and with health visitors and nurses ready to administer it instead, Ian Dalton - who heads up the government’s flu planning – has revealed that GPs were now signing up on an area-by-area basis.

With agreements in place for GPs in the North East and London to deliver the programme, more are expected to follow.


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