Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 12:04 UK

Eight in Wales in swine flu probe

Pupils in Tokyo, Japan disinfecting their hands
Pupils in Tokyo being given disinfectant during a school visit

Eight people are under investigation for swine flu in Wales while a further 86 have been given the all-clear.

The eight cases being investigated reported recent flu-like symptoms following travel to Mexico.

There have been 203 confirmed cases in the UK and all are said to be responding well to treatment.

So far, 94 people have been investigated in Wales. Health officials said confirmed cases were still expected in Wales.

But there have been none so far.

Chief medical officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said: "Whilst there have been no confirmed cases in Wales to date, we fully expect that there will be confirmed cases in due course.

"It is therefore important people remain vigilant and maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading of infection."

Worldwide, the number of swine flu infections on Wednesday stood at 13,398 including 95 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Meanwhile, in an update to assembly members earlier this month, health minister Edwina Hart said the situation was "continuously changing".

HYGIENE ADVICE
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue where possible
Dispose of tissues promptly and carefully
Wash hands frequently with soap and water
Clean hard surfaces such as door handles regularly with a normal cleaning product
Help your children to follow hygiene advice
Source: National Public Health Service for Wales/Welsh Assembly Government

Ms Hart said: "This remains a serious situation and we will see cases in Wales soon as they have been identified across English regions and in Scotland.

"Even with the best available scientific advice at our disposal, it is impossible to predict how the virus might develop over the coming months."

She said they remained vigilant and prepared for a further phase, if containment was no longer possible.

Ms Hart said stockpiles of antivirals were being increased to cover 80% of the population, as well as antibiotics for treatment for 30% of the population.

"Considerable progress has also been made within the NHS to identify suitable collection points from where antivirals could be collected on behalf of patients with flu," she said.

To ensure we are able to distribute antivirals effectively, we are working to get the National Flu Service up and ready to run when needed.

She said expiry dates for antivirals had been extended for two years.

The UK has also ordered an additional 227m surgical facemasks and 34m respirators.

Work was continuing on producing and developing vaccines, while the normal seasonal flu vaccine will continue to be produced to help protect high risk people from the other common circulating viruses.

Anyone who has returned from an affected area and has flu-like symptoms is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS Direct Wales.

Dr Roland Salmon, director of the communicable disease surveillance centre at the National Public Health Service for Wales, said: "People should not go to accident and emergency departments or to their GP surgery without ringing first, as this may risk spreading the infection. It also places undue pressure on the emergency services.

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

Members of the public can call 0800 1513513 for recorded information about swine flu. People requiring health advice should contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.



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SEE ALSO
Swine flu tests for 19 in Wales
30 Apr 09 |  Wales
Wales swine flu inquiry into 20
29 Apr 09 |  Wales

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