Swine flu impact less severe than feared
Swine flu's impact in Suffolk over the next six months is likely to be less severe than initially feared, heath bosses claimed today.
SUFFOLK: Swine flu's impact in Suffolk over the next six months is likely to be less severe than initially feared, heath bosses claimed today.
In a report which will go before NHS Suffolk on Wednesday, Dr Brian Keeble, the director of pandemic response, said swine flu will be an addition to normal winter pressures on the NHS rather than the main cause of those pressures.
However, he warned that acute hospitals such as Ipswich Hospital and the West Suffolk Hospital are likely to be under pressure.
Dr Keeble said: “Pressures are most likely to be felt by our acute hospitals, where the combination of our usual winter pressures with the addition of swine flu cases may cause extra pressures on both general hospital and intensive care beds.”
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The report says that the number of people contracting swine flu has continued to increase in Suffolk over the autumn but levels have not reached those experienced in July 2009.
A further surge in cases was anticipated this autumn but while there has been a steady increase since September, there has not been the marked acceleration in infection rates that were feared.
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The report warned that flu pandemics are “notoriously difficult” to predict but said, according to recent government planning assumptions, there will be ten deaths from swine flu in the county up to late spring 2010.
It also said that 340 people will need admission to hospital with 50 people needing to go into intensive care.
Dr Keeble said: “Numbers of people using the National Pandemic Flu Service and collecting anti-viral medication has been fairly level over the past two weeks, which may indicate a plateau in numbers of cases - but we are not complacent as we haven't yet seen any decrease in cases.”
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