Page last updated at 00:27 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 01:27 UK

School outbreak raises flu total

Welford Primary School sign
All parents and staff with symptoms have received anti-viral medication

Forty-four new cases of swine flu have been diagnosed at a Birmingham primary school, taking the UK total to 184, health chiefs have said.

The Health Protection Agency said the new cases at Welford Primary School involved 41 children and three adults.

Three further patients in London and east England have also been diagnosed.

Meanwhile, a man who has been identified as a "highly probable" case of swine flu is critically ill, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

All of the new cases were either returning travellers or linked to previous cases, the agency said.

Welford Primary School in Handsworth now has a total of 50 confirmed cases of the virus - 45 children and five adults.

The UK's arrangements are continuing to ensure that we are well-placed to deal with this new infection
Health Protection Agency

More people connected to the school were expected to be diagnosed with the virus as further test results were confirmed, agency officials said.

In a statement on its website, the school, which has more than 400 pupils and 60 children in its nursery, said it had noticed a higher than usual number of pupil absences early last week and notified the Health Protection Agency.

It confirmed its first case of swine flu on Friday, but five more people tested positive for the virus over the bank holiday weekend and a further 44 were confirmed with swine flu on Tuesday.

A Health Protection Agency spokeswoman said all those confirmed to have the virus were responding well to treatment.

"There are still a number of laboratory results outstanding and the numbers of confirmed cases at the school are expected to rise," she said.

The school, which is currently closed for half term, said a "deep clean" of its premises would take place during the holiday period.

'Not complacent'

Earlier, it was announced a two-year-old boy from Oxford was among four cases confirmed on Tuesday morning.

The boy was a "close household contact" of a 29-year-old woman already diagnosed with the virus, Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust said.

The Health Protection Agency said case numbers at the school were not a surprise

The 37-year-old man from Glasgow who is critically ill was said to have underlying health problems. He was admitted to the city's Victoria Infirmary on Thursday.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "It is not yet known whether flu was the cause of his illness, or whether it was incidental to it."

A third swine flu case has also been confirmed in Ireland.

The Irish Department of Health said the patient was a woman who recently travelled from New York.

In the UK, a Department of Health spokesman said the current cases had so far been mild, and the strategy of containing the spread with anti-viral drugs appeared to have been effective.

"But we must not be complacent - it is right to prepare for the possibility of a global pandemic," he said.

"The UK's arrangements are continuing to ensure that we are well-placed to deal with this new infection."

About 13,000 people around the world have been diagnosed with the virus.

Map of UK swine flu cases

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