13 cases but swine flu under control, say health bosses

SUFFOLK health bosses are stressing that swine flu is under control after it emerged 13 people in the county have contracted the virus.

Rebecca Lefort

SUFFOLK health bosses are stressing that swine flu is under control after it emerged 13 people in the county have contracted the virus.

Primary care trust NHS Suffolk yesterday admitted that doctors throughout the county had dealt with 13 definite cases of the pandemic since May, with three more confirmed yesterday and the first case in Ipswich established on Wednesday.

Until yesterday the trust had keep the news of the cases out of the public domain, and it refused to say which districts the cases were in because of “patient confidentially”.

The World Health Organisation upgraded the threat level of swine flu to a global pandemic earlier this month, and on Wednesday the first case in Ipswich was confirmed.

The victim, who had recently returned from a holiday aboard, is a family member of two Ipswich Borough Council employees, both of whom are currently working from home.

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A spokesman for the council: “Both members of staff are feeling fine and have no symptoms at all.”

The 13 Suffolk cases, including one in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area, have been confirmed through laboratory testing by the Health Protection Agency.

Those affected have been given antiviral treatment and have recovered, or are in the process of recovering.

Dr Brian Keeble, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Suffolk, said: “We are continuing work to slow the spread of the disease and to put in place arrangements with partner organisations to ensure that Suffolk is well-placed to deal with this new infection, including the supply of antivirals to treat people if they become ill.

“Anyone who hasn't experienced any symptoms should carry on their daily lives as normal while continuing to follow simple steps to help protect themselves and other people.

“These include covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible and disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.

“Maintaining good basic hygiene by, for example, washing hands frequently with soap and water, particularly before eating, will help to reduce the risk of you picking up the virus.”

How to stay safe:-

THE single most effective way to stop or slow the spread of diseases such as swine flu is to prevent the spread of germs.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or an antibacterial hand gel if you are out and about, and cover your mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze, disposing of the tissue immediately.

You should also think about what you would do if you and your family all became ill. Who could you rely on for support, such as to collect medicines or shop for you?

The NHS's simple advice is: CATCH IT. BIN IT. KILL IT.