Many of you have written to the BBC with your thoughts on the government's announcement that the rising number of swine flu cases mean trying to contain the virus is no longer an option. Here are some of your comments:
PEOPLE WHO HAVE SWINE FLU
Anti-viral drugs are being issued to those affected by swine flu
My wife was a confirmed case of swine flu from an inner city school. Myself and my two daughters were swabbed and we never received any results back - even after four days of chasing. The testing system in the Midlands is a farce, so I returned to work and my children returned to school. We were told in absence of a call saying we were negative to go back to our normal routines. That was 2 1/2 weeks ago and we still have not been 'officially' notified and don't expect to be. If I took the NHS direct advice I would still be at home now. Instead I took notice of the HPA - they should have realised by now that the advice they are being giving out totally contradicts each other.
Paul Davies, West Midlands
My daughter was diagnosed with swine flu when she came home from university. When we asked how long the quarantine for us was, no-one seemed to know. We have been quarantined for a week now and still haven't been told whether we are still quarantined or not, nor have we been contacted as to whether we are all okay or not.
I was diagnosed with Swine Flu on Monday 29th June. I was offered no treatment and told to go home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. It was at my request that swabs were taken to confirm Swine Flu (the results not yet back) but in talking to my doctor, it emerged the process for dealing with this outbreak is very dynamic and subject to daily revision. Which seems to me to be a posh way of saying the powers that be haven't got a real plan and are trying as many different ideas as they can. That way if they get it totally wrong, they can always claim "Ah! But we only did that for a bit and then we learned lessons and corrected the process." It feels a bit like Homer Simpson in the power plant pressing all the buttons on his console in the hope that he hits the right one to avert catastrophe.
I tested positive for Swine flu last week having been on holiday in the US. I haven't been approached to give any information regarding my flight or who I was away with. Seemingly some GPs are switching strategy already! You wouldn't believe how difficult some of my friends found it to be seen by their own GP, with one even being advised to visit the hospital to be tested. The whole affair has taught me that the majority of GPs are useless and if something really serious was to break out, we're done for.
THE INFORMATION IS NOT GETTING THROUGH
I think the message is anything but clear, especially about what to do. On the one hand we are being told that people with symptoms should stay at home; on the other businesses like the one where I work are announcing that no one should stay at home unless actually diagnosed with flu. Governmental communications on this subject are extremely poor. I personally think we are extremely lucky that this is a mild strain; if it wasn't, the chaotic NHS response would be a severe threat to the public health. No wonder we are topping the world charts for speed of spread of the virus.
Susan Andrews, London
I don't feel the message is clear. What do people with affected immune systems do? The elderly and persons infected with HIV? I think clear guidelines need to be published and acted on!
Mr Jones, Manchester
Not enough info on what to do, where to go etc. Not nearly enough anti-virals to cover expected population. The fact the NHS knows what's coming and can't do much if Tamiflu resists is very worrying.
Anon, Larne, Northern Ireland
Working in a London A&E department we are being swamped by people attending with possible influenza. The advice does not seem to be getting through that people with flu-like illness should not go to their local A&E but should call their GP or NHS Direct - this is despite large posters at the entrance to A&E asking people to not book in with flu-like illnesses. There does not seem to be a consistent response from the hospital Trusts - with some sending people with mild symptoms away at the door and other allowing people to book in and sit around with minimal infection control waiting to be seen by a doctor who sends them home - admittedly with a prescription for Tamiflu - which would have been provided to them at home if they had followed the Health Protection Agency's advice. The most worrying thing about Trusts allowing/encouraging people to attend is that they almost all travel to and from the hospital on public transport with no respiratory protection - even if provided with a mask, they will not wear them in public. This is actively promoting the spread of the virus and putting members of the public at risk.
Matthew Corbett, London
We have been trying to find out the difference between ordinary flu and swine flu - is there a difference or sign that we should be looking for, should we get the virus?
Ann Herbert, Stevenage, Hertfordshire
I am totally confused. I have not been well for over a week now with general symptoms of sneezing, sore throat, cough etc. However, I have been going into work as my boss says it's just a cold. On the bus I get dirty looks because I am coughing and sneezing. I can't go to doctors and NHS just tell you to stay at home. Can you tell my boss that please?
Sharon Billings, London
Has anyone else not received their government leaflet on Swine Flu? My whole street is still awaiting this document. So, with regard to what advice are we getting, apart from watching the news, none!
The government advice is not helping. I have 10% of my staff off just now and they have all been tested, and positive, and then they have been told to stay at home. Then they get a phone call saying your tablets are ready to pick up at the surgery. Makes no sense, why make them stay in and then get them to go out into public areas to get the tablets? If it can spread easily then processes have to be put in place to cover this otherwise we are simply making matters worse - surely?
As a worker at the front line in a doctors' surgery, we are still finding many people do not know what to do or who to call if they have any symptoms. They think that because they have not been on holiday they cannot have had contact with the flu and so are still coming into the surgery. I don't think the message is getting across and most of them have not bothered to read the leaflet that was sent out and have just binned it with the rest of the leaflets that come through their letter box.
Diane Cobden, Chelmsford
I only learnt about the current options for dealing with Swine Flu from the internet. Not everyone has use of the internet, probably a lot of older people. There should be a television campaign giving clear and concise instructions as to what to do in the case of contracting Flu like symptoms.
Leonard Wilson, Cornwall
I am confused about the situation and I work in a GP surgery, so goodness knows what the public will be thinking!
Christine Baker, Southwold, Suffolk
There is little local advice about swine flu, unless you go to the doctors' surgery, where there are some leaflets. I think that simple step-by-step advice should be posted on buses and other public transport systems. I have noticed that several people have been coughing away on the buses and nothing is done about it. Even after this time, there are people around who have absolutely no idea that we are in a flu pandemic. The local newspaper could do a lot more, giving up a bit of space to give local community news of outbreaks, while giving simple instructions about this flu.
Ms Francis, Southampton
Confirmation and clarification of symptoms would be useful.
Sarah, Milton Keynes
I haven't received any sort of info. I have no clue what the symptoms are or what exactly to do if I thought I had the flu. I haven't even received the flyer from the government. I feel that nobody has a clue on what this flu really is and no information is really coming through from the authorities.
Marius, Milton Keynes