Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Saturday, 2 May 2009 19:38 UK

Swine flu transfer to English man

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Barry Greatorex: 'People shouldn't panic'

A 43-year-old man from South Gloucestershire has become the first person in England to catch swine flu without having visited Mexico.

Barry Greatorex, from Chipping Sodbury, is in quarantine at his home with his wife and son, after tests confirmed he had the virus.

Mr Greatorex said he believed he had caught swine flu from a colleague who had recently visited Mexico.

He is said to be recovering well. His family has been given anti-viral drugs.

Including Mr Greatorex's infection, 11 cases have been recorded in England among 15 across the whole of the UK.

Two of those cases were confirmed on Saturday.

'Worst cold'

One is a six-year-old girl from Oxfordshire and the other is a man from Sefton, Merseyside, who recently returned from Mexico with his wife.

She had already tested positive for the virus.

Mr Greatorex's wife Fran and 13-year-old son Jamie were treated with Tamiflu as a precaution, health chiefs said.

Mr Greatorex said his colleague had initially tested negative for swine flu and was now being tested again to see if she was just a carrier of the virus.

We would like to reassure the community that they're not at risk just because I've got it
Barry Greatorex

He said he had no reason to suspect she was infected as, at the time of their meeting on 24 April, swine flu had not hit the headlines.

Two days afterwards, he had chest pains, a shortness of breath and severe coughing.

"Initially I thought it was because I had over-exerted myself in the garden so I thought nothing of it," he said.

Mr Greatorex has never had flu so presumed it was the "worst cold" he had ever had.

"I'm fairly laidback but of course as soon as you get confirmation that it's swine flu, you always fear the worst."

School closed

He said he would like to reassure his neighbours that he is not contagious.

"The fact that my wife and son have not contracted it, we would like to reassure the community that they're not at risk just because I've got it."

An NHS spokesperson said Mr Greatorex had not had any contact with a 12-year-old girl who had also contracted swine flu in nearby Downend.

Downend School, which is attended by the girl, will be closed until 11 May and parents have been told to contact their family doctor if any child shows symptoms.

Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.

The Health Protection Agency said all those in the UK who have contracted the disease appear to be suffering mild symptoms.



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