Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wales' swine flu deaths total 21

Influenza Virus
Doctors had anticipated a rise in the number of deaths

Another seven people with swine flu in Wales have died, taking the total number of deaths to 21.

The Welsh Assembly Government also said it was aware of a swine flu-related death of a person from Wales abroad.

Dr Tony Jewell, chief medical officer for Wales, said the rise had been expected and a number of the people had been seriously ill "for some time".

He said a second vaccination programme which will focus on children will begin "very shortly".

Dr Jewell added: "Sadly, this week, we have seen a further increase in swine flu-related deaths.

However, we are aware that a number of these people had been seriously ill for some time.

Second vaccination programme

"This is a tragedy for the families and friends of the individuals but unfortunately, we have been expecting to see an increase in the number of deaths.

"This is the same for seasonal flu in the winter.

"Whilst reported cases of swine flu have recently started declining, it is too early to draw any conclusions about the number of future cases."

He said the four UK health ministers had agreed a second vaccination programme should focus on children aged between six months and five years.

A total of 377 people confirmed with swine flu in Wales have been admitted to hospital since the start of the outbreak, and 46 remained in hospital as of 17 November.

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