Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Sunday, 28 June 2009 14:00 UK

Elderly man with swine flu dies

Swine flu virus
The patient was suffering from swine flu when he died

An elderly man who was suffering from swine flu has died, health officials have confirmed.

The 73-year old was being treated at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley at the time. He died late on Saturday.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said he was suffering from underlying health complications.

The pensioner, from Inverclyde, passed away late on Saturday night. He is the second person in the UK who was suffering from swine flu to die.

The first death, earlier this month, was a 38-year-old woman who gave birth prematurely while being treated at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. She also had underlying health conditions.

Her death was the first connected to swine flu outside the Americas.

The pensioner who died had been in intensive care for 15 days.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the patient at this tragic and very sad time. The family have asked for the patient's identity to be kept private.

In fact this is the second case in about four and a half thousand cases that we've seen in the UK and that makes it a lot less severe, much less aggressive than we would normally see with a winter flu virus
Dr Harry Burns
Scotland's chief medical officer

"Although it is concerning that the patient had swine flu, we are aware that the patient had very serious underlying health issues.

"It's important to remember that the vast majority of those who have H1N1 are suffering from relatively mild symptoms.

A family spokesperson said: "Our beloved relative was private in life and we would ask that his privacy continues to be respected as we try to come to terms with our loss."

Dr Harry Burns, Scotland's chief medical officer, said the death was a "tragedy" but also underlined that it was only the second death from swine flu in well over 4,000 cases in the UK.

Flu pandemic

He told the BBC: "It's a tragedy, but it doesn't change our view that this is no more serious than winter flu.

"In fact this is the second case in about four and a half thousand cases that we've seen in the UK and that makes it a lot less severe, much less aggressive than we would normally see with a winter flu virus.

"What happens with winter flu is there is no publicity," he added.

According to the latest available figures, there were more than 4,200 laboratory confirmed cases in the UK.

Of these, 3,364 cases are in England, 922 in Scotland and 24 in Northern Ireland.

Four new cases were confirmed in Wales on Sunday bringing the total to 17.

60,000 cases

It also emerged on Saturday that three people attending the Glastonbury Festival have been diagnosed with suspected swine flu.

Two students and a 10-year-old child from a family of four showed symptoms of the illness when examined by festival medical staff.

The students, from Exeter and Edinburgh universities, and the family were moved off the festival site and into an isolation facility.

They have since returned home.

The H1N1 virus first emerged in April in Mexico, which has recorded 116 deaths and 8,279 cases, according to the World Health Organisation.

On 11 June, the WHO declared a global flu pandemic, meaning that swine flu virus was spreading in at least two regions of the world.

Officials stressed that this did not mean the virus was causing more severe illness or more deaths.

According to the latest figures from the WHO, there have been 263 deaths and nearly 60,000 cases in some 100 countries and territories.



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