Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 13:28 UK

Scots swine flu death toll rises

Microscopic negative-stained image of the swine flu virus
The woman contracted the H1N1 strain of the virus

A woman from the Lothians has become the ninth swine flu patient to die in Scotland as it emerged that the number of cases had almost doubled in a week.

The Scottish Government said the woman had "significant" underlying health conditions.

Her family have requested no further details be released about the case.

The health department estimated that 6,180 people contracted swine flu last week, compared to 3,336 in the previous seven days.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "The death of this woman is devastating for her family and friends. I'd like to express my sincere condolences.

"While this tragic death shows that in some cases the H1N1 virus can cause complications, I would like to stress that the majority of people contracting H1N1 are continuing to experience mild symptoms."

'Mild virus'

The government said a total of 143 people had been taken to hospital with swine flu since the start of the outbreak.

Ms Sturgeon said there had been a "significant increase" in the number of people consulting their GP with flu-like symptoms over the last two weeks.

"The potential threat from H1N1 remains serious, even if it continues to be a relatively mild virus," she added.

"Vaccination is the best defence we have against the H1N1 virus and Scotland is preparing very well for the vaccination programme.

"Simple hygiene measures like frequent handwashing and using tissues can do a huge amount to help prevent flu spreading."

She said most people suffered fairly mild symptoms and made a full recovery within a week.

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