Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:40 UK

Wales swine flu inquiry into 20


Health Minister Edwina Hart talks about the preparations being made in Wales for a possible swine flu outbreak

Twenty people in Wales are being investigated in connection with swine flu, it has been announced.

Health Minister Edwina Hart told members of the Welsh assembly there had been no confirmed cases yet in Wales.

She said the four police chief constables in Wales had been briefed and she was speaking to ministers in the rest of the UK every day.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said on Tuesday there were enough stockpiles of anti-virals for half the population.

More then 150 people in Mexico have died of swine flu and a 23-month-old Mexican child in Texas was the first fatality outside Mexico.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said a 12-year-old girl was among five people in the UK to have contracted swine flu after visiting Mexico.

A further 76 patients in the UK are being tested for the virus and Ms Hart said she expected more cases to be confirmed in travellers recently returned from Mexico.

We can reassure the public that we are working to prepare for the arrival of the virus
Health Minister Edwina Hart

"In Wales we are investigating 20 people and there have been no confirmed cases yet in Wales," she said.

"The chief constables in Wales, as chairs of our four local resilience forums, were briefed over the weekend on the developing situation and met at the Welsh Assembly Government on Monday where they were briefed by the emergency services civil contingencies adviser."

A test exercise involving the NHS and emergency services last week had shown good plans were in place to deal with a possible pandemic, she said.

Face masks necessary for medical staff were also available and an advice leaflet on swine flu issued by the UK government would be tailored for Wales, including being bilingual, said Ms Hart.

'Robust procedures'

"Whilst it is natural for people to feel apprehensive, we can reassure the public that we are working to prepare for the arrival of the virus, and have robust procedures in place," she added.

Wales's chief medical officer Dr Tony Jewell has cautioned the public against undue alarm.

Dr Roland Salmon, director of the communicable disease surveillance centre at the NPHS in Wales said they would assess any person with flu-like symptoms who has travelled to affected areas.

"It is inevitable that we will see some cases of swine influenza in Wales, but it is also extremely likely that some persons undergoing investigation will test negative as their symptoms could have several other causes," said Dr Salmon.

Earlier Dr Jewell said: "We should expect that there will be some confirmed cases in Wales at some point."

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