Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 17:32 UK

Tenth person with swine flu dies

Microscopic negative stained image of the swine flu virus
A vaccination against the swine flu virus has been licensed for use

A 62-year-old woman with "significant" underlying health problems has become the 10th person in Scotland to die after contracting swine flu.

The announcement came as it emerged the number of people in the country thought to have swine flu has almost doubled in the past week.

However, it is thought the increase is at least partly due to an an improved method of counting sufferers.

A swine flu vaccine programme is due to start by the end of the month.

It is expected 1.4 million people in Scotland will receive the vaccination by the end of the year.

The increases that we are seeing this week are being mirrored in all other parts of the UK
Nicola Sturgeon
Health secretary

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the 62-year-old woman who had died was from the Forth Valley area. No further details have been released, at the request of the woman's family.

The Scottish government is now getting information from more than 700 GP practices compared with just 58 in previous weeks.

It said this was giving a more accurate picture of how many people across the country have the bug.

Ms Sturgeon said a vaccination programme would begin in the country as soon as the GSK vaccine, which has now been licensed by the EU, reached GP practices.

Priority will be given to vulnerable groups including pregnant women and health care workers.

Predominant flu

The figures showed that 13,800 people caught the H1N1 bug last week, while only about 7,000 were detected the previous week.

Health officials said swine flu was now becoming the predominant flu in the country.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We are not unique here. The increases that we are seeing this week, which build on a steady increase over the last three or four weeks, are being mirrored in all other parts of the UK.

"Northern Ireland has seen an even more dramatic increase this week - their consultation rates are now above 200 per 100,000."

Ms Sturgeon also said ECMO provision - a machine which oxygenates the blood outside the body to help treat swine flu - will be doubled at a hospital in Leicester, the only facility of its kind in the UK.

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