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Swine flu jab call after virus claims its first victims this winter
12-12-2010, 07:58 PM,
Swine flu jab call after virus claims its first victims this winter
Quote:Health Protection Agency (HPA) officials have confirmed the H1N1 virus that caused last year's global pandemic is circulating again this winter and has already caused the death of 10 people.

The news has led to the Department of Health reiterating its call for all expectant mothers to have the jab as the virus is more risky for pregnant women than others.

The latest vaccine offers protection against H1N1 and two other flu strains.

As well as pregnant women, normal target groups – the over 65s, people with conditions such as diabetes and health workers have been urged to have it.

This amounts to more than 14 million people, of which pregnant women account for about 500,000.

The HPA said that the latest outbreak showed that the effects of flu are not to be underestimated but insisted overall levels were normal for the time of year.

Of 89 cases of flu tested by GPs during the past week, 18 turned out to be swine flu.

Dr John Watson, a flu expert at the HPA, said: "Flu vaccination offers the best protection for those at high risk from seasonal influenza. If you are in an at risk group and you haven't had your jab, we recommend you make an appointment with your GP or medical practitioner now.

"Although unpleasant, flu is a self-limiting illness and if you have flu it is best to stay at home until well. If individuals in at risk groups develop symptoms consistent with flu or if anyone whose symptoms persist or become more severe then we advise they seek medical advice.”

The influenza H1N1 virus, formerly known as 'swine flu', is now one of the group of seasonal flu viruses circulating around the world.

Following a pandemic, it is often the case that the pandemic strain becomes the most common seasonal strain of influenza the next flu season, so it in not surprising to see H1N1 circulating this winter.
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