Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

New swine flu cases drop by 45%

Woman sneezing
The umber of new NI swine flu cases has dropped

The number of new swine flu cases in Northern Ireland almost halved in the last week, according to the latest Department of Health figures.

There were 43 new cases, compared to 78 the previous week - a fall of 45%.

By 25 November, 1,303 people in Northern Ireland had been diagnosed with the virus, 558 of whom had been hospitalised.

The total number of antivirals issued is 22,718. There were no new swine flu-related deaths in NI.

To date 15 people from Northern Ireland have died as a result of it. Thirteen of them died in Northern Ireland, one in England and one in Spain.

The latest figures also showed a decrease in the number of people consulting their GPs about swine flu symptoms.

Commenting on the figures, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said the further decrease in consultation rates in the past week suggested his department plans were working.

"However, swine flu still continues to circulate in the community and is particularly affecting the under fives," he said.

The minister said the response to phase one of the vaccination programme had been very encouraging.

"In Northern Ireland, over 100,000 people in the clinical at-risk groups and about 28,000 health and social care workers have been vaccinated," he said.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, said some samples of swine flu viruses isolated from patients in Northern Ireland had been tested for sensitivity to the antiviral Tamiflu.

"I am pleased to report that none of these has shown resistance to Tamiflu," he said.

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