Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 19:14 UK

First 'swine flu' death in Wales


A 55-year-old woman is the first to die from swine flu-related causes in Wales

A 55-year-old woman has become the first person in Wales to die after testing positive for swine flu.

She was first admitted to hospital on 2 August with flu-like symptoms but later transferred to an intensive care unit with cardiac-related problems.

The Welsh Assembly Government confirmed that the woman from Caerphilly county borough died on Saturday following further circulatory complications.

There have been more than 50 swine flu-related deaths in the UK so far.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said there was no increase in case rates in Wales.

The woman was first admitted to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport where she tested positive for swine flu on admission and received a course of antivirals.

She was later transferred to the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Ms Hart said: "This is the first swine flu-related death in Wales and I would like to send my condolences to the family and friends of the woman at this difficult time.

If you have symptoms, stay home and check out the symptoms on NHS Direct Wales
Or phone the swine flu information line on 0800 1 513 513 for recorded advice and information
Most people will not need further advice and support and can self-medicate at home with rest, plenty of fluid and paracetamol
If you are in an at risk group or your symptoms get worse call your GP
If people contact the National Pandemic Flu Service - either the website or the call centre - they will be directed to contact their GP
Source: Welsh Assembly Government

"Tragic though this is for the family and friends, we are not seeing an increase in rates of cases, compared to normal seasonal flu, where we see a number of serious cases and deaths each year."

The chief medical officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell said there had been more than 50 swine flu-related deaths in the UK since the flu pandemic arose in April.

"I understand that the first death of someone with swine flu in Wales will naturally worry people and cause concern, however I would assure people that for the vast majority of healthy people, the infection remains mild and people recover within five to seven days with rest, plenty of fluids and symptomatic treatments," he added.

"People with underlying health conditions, especially heart and lung diseases, are at most risk.

"Even in the at risk groups - those with chronic conditions, pregnant women and children under five - most people get over the infection with no major concerns.

"If people are concerned, or if they are in these at risk groups, they should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales.

"Antivirals have the most impact within 48 hours of the onset of flu-like symptoms."

NHS Direct can be contacted on 0845 4647.

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