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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:15 am 
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Dr N, I'm trying to find something on the Dept of Health website. Dame Sally confirmed the number of ITU cases being at 460 earlier this afternoon in
an interview with the BBC news.

She said 15% of ITU beds were currently being used. The majority being between the ages of 15-65 years of age.

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:21 am 
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http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/news/ ... ticle.html

Quote:
Surgery postponed at Nottingham's hospitals in case of flu outbreak
SURGERY has been postponed at Nottingham's hospitals for the "immediate future" to make sure there are enough intensive care beds for flu and swine flu patients.

The few major operations at both the Queen's Medical Centre and the City Hospital that were scheduled over the festive period have been postponed in case there is a surge in flu cases.

Jeffrey Worrall, Chief Operating Officer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), said: "There is very little elective surgery at NUH over Christmas and the New Year, but we have made sure we have cancelled all proposed surgery for the immediate future to make sure our Intensive Care Unit has extra capacity to deal with seasonal flu, including the H1N1 virus (swine flu)."

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:31 am 
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stephensons wrote:
Dr N, I'm trying to find something on the Dept of Health website. Dame Sally confirmed the number of ITU cases being at 460 earlier this afternoon in
an interview with the BBC news.

She said 15% of ITU beds were currently being used. The majority being between the ages of 15-65 years of age.


Can't find anything as yet on Dept of Health website.

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:52 am 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters ... worry.html

Is swine flu a worry?

Quote:
« Previous | Main
Is swine flu a worry?
Fergus Walsh | 19:30 UK time, Thursday, 23 December 2010

A lot of people are asking is flu getting more serious? It comes after new figures showed 10 people have died from flu-related conditions in the UK in the past week, bringing the toll to 27 since October. Nine of those who died were children and nearly all the deaths have been from H1N1 swine flu.
To put the current death rates in context, 474 people died with H1N1 in the first year of the infection - up to April 2010. Since October this year there have been 27 deaths, so it is, sadly, what might be expected.

For anyone with a loved one who is ill from the complications of flu, this is a worrying time. But there is no evidence that swine flu is getting more virulent, although there is more flu about than this time last year.

Flu viruses kill every winter, predominantly the frail elderly. Things changed with the advent of swine flu which mostly spares the elderly and causes most serious illness in younger people.

H1N1 remains the dominant flu strain this winter. It is worth stressing that for the vast majority it causes an unpleasant but mild illness which resolves after a few days bed rest, with plenty of fluids. Many of those infected have no illness at all.

For a sizeable minority though, flu can be serious. Of the 300 people in intensive care in England with suspected flu, nearly 250 are between the ages of 16-64. Most of those will have swine flu.

That is far more people in intensive care than at any point during the pandemic. At the height of the swine flu outbreak in July 2009 there were 63 people critically ill. Now it is five times that number.

But - if you can bear one more set of figures - compare flu levels now with November 2009. There was not that much flu around then, yet 173 people were in intensive care.

Looking back on my "Fergus on flu" posts, I remember there was an autumn/winter peak of intensive care hospitalisations in 2009 even as flu consultations with GPs were falling. It suggests swine flu can be a more serious illness in winter than in summer, although no virologist I have spoken to has been able to explain this fully.

Now that swine flu is a seasonal strain of flu, we should no longer see much flu outside of autumn and winter.

Crucially, there is no evidence that the H1N1 virus is mutating. Professor Peter Openshaw, director of the centre for respiratory infections at Imperial College London says it is behaving just as it did last year, during the pandemic.

He said: "It is targeting the same groups - pregnant women, asthmatics, people who are a bit overweight or frankly obese - those are the people who it is mostly hitting hard, like last year. They are predominantly between the ages of 20-55 and so it is not the elderly."

That does not mean that the elderly are immune from swine flu. If they do get it, it can be serious. Furthermore, other flu strains are circulating to which they are vulnerable.

Influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease. A disappointing 43% of people under 65 in at-risk groups have been immunised. For those 65 and over its is 68.5%.

The winter weather is also helping to spread flu. Professor Openshaw said these are ideal conditions:

"Flu is a RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus. RNA is very unstable genetic material and easily damaged by ultra-violet light. It is stabilised at low temperatures. In addition people try to escape the cold weather by crowding into small areas and sneezing over each other. Those things tend to make flu spread in the winter. People with respiratory diseases generally suffer a lot more in the winter but that is to a large degree because of the number of viruses circulating."

No-one can predict when the current flu outbreak will peak. In some areas of the UK perhaps half the population have already had swine flu - but that still leaves millions to get infected.

We can all do our bit to reduce infections. Remember the "Catch it, kill it, bin it" campaign. I am not suggesting that people refrain from kissing under the mistletoe. But do try to avoid sneezing on your relatives this Christmas.



I apologise for the large writing, just a bit angry.

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:56 am 
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Commentary

http://www.recombinomics.com/News/12241 ... U_460.html

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:15 am 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12074786

Global flu warning after UK hit

Quote:
Northern hemisphere countries are being told by health experts to brace themselves for flu outbreaks.

There has been a well-publicised surge of cases in the UK during December with swine flu appearing to be the dominant of the three strains circulating.

But the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned much of the rest of Europe was also beginning to see increases too.

Meanwhile, parts of the US and Canada have reported higher levels.

Many of those being infected are younger age groups. This is because elderly people have some immunity to swine flu, most probably because of exposure to a similar strain many years ago.

In the UK, the number of people who have died with all types of flu this winter hit 27 this week after another 10 deaths.

The volume of patients going to their doctor with flu-like illnesses also rose, more than doubling to 87.1 per 100,000 in the past week.

Children

Cases have been highest in children aged between five and 14, followed by children under four and then those aged between 15 and 44.

But the UK's Health Protection Agency (HPA) said a very large outbreak was "not likely".

The situation has led to a rise in patients in intensive care beds and also in those using the NHS's phone hotline, NHS Direct.

Health experts said most people with flu would be able to "self-care" by taking plenty of rest, drinking fluids and taking pain relief.

However, those with severe symptoms are being advised to consult their doctor.

Professor John Watson, an expert in respiratory disease at the HPA, said: "The level of flu activity we are currently seeing is at levels often seen during the winter flu seasons.

"Recent research conducted by the HPA has suggested that a very substantial wave of activity associated with the pandemic strain is not likely."

In the UK at-risk groups are being urged to come forward for vaccinations. The numbers getting immunised are still too low, doctors have said.

The rates being seen elsewhere in Europe are not as high as in the UK, but the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said there was evidence that the winter flu epidemics were "starting".

Russia and the Ukraine are thought to be the worst hit outside the UK.

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:25 am 
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Dr N, your commentaries are the first and second top stories in the past 24 hrs on News Now Flu Pandemics.

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:30 am 
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stephensons wrote:
Dr N, your commentaries are the first and second top stories in the past 24 hrs on News Now Flu Pandemics.

http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Hot+Topics/F ... TSPeriod=0

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:37 am 
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niman wrote:
stephensons wrote:
Dr N, your commentaries are the first and second top stories in the past 24 hrs on News Now Flu Pandemics.

http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Hot+Topics/F ... TSPeriod=0


People should sit up, listen and be aware of the killer which influenza is. It knows no borders. It wants to infect, replicate and kill you if needs be.

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 Post subject: Re: UK
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:51 pm 
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The number of people with flu who are in intensive care has more than doubled in a week, while the latest figures also show that 27 people with flu have now died this winter
By Peter Russell
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
24th December 2010 - Latest figures show that there are 460 people in intensive care in England who have flu or flu-like symptoms. That’s an increase of 278 on a week ago.

The Department of Health said that 13.6% of all critical care beds in England are now occupied by patients with confirmed or suspected flu. Of those:

366 are adults aged 16-65
51 are aged over 65
26 are young children under five
17 are school age children aged between five and 15
The new figures follow an announcement on Thursday that 10 more people with flu had died. It brings the total number of deaths since the start of the flu season in October to 27, of which nine were children.

Swine flu causing most deaths
Of those who died, 24 had H1N1 (swine flu) and three had Influenza B.

Almost half of those who have died were in a clinical 'at risk' group for vaccination. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said it had been able to establish the vaccination status of 22 of those who died and only one had received this year’s seasonal flu jab.

Professor John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the HPA, said in a statement: "The level of flu activity we are currently seeing is at levels often seen during the winter flu seasons, but due to the fact that H1N1 is one of the predominant strains circulating at the moment, we are seeing more severe illness in people under the age of 65 than we would normally expect.”

Flu rates increasing
Flu rates now stand 87.1 cases per 100,000 of the population in England and Wales - up from 33 per 100,000 the previous week. In Scotland, the number of cases of flu went up by 36% in the past week and now stands at 45.8 cases per 100,000.

The interim Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sally Davies, said in a statement: “We have seen some flu outbreaks in school-aged children as well as serious cases in pregnant women. We are working throughout the public health system and NHS to protect and treat people at risk of serious illness.”

The Department of Health has repeated its advice for people in ‘at risk’ groups to have the seasonal flu vaccination, which also protects against H1N1. Davies said this was particularly important in the case of pregnant women.

The latest figures show that vaccination rates for people in ‘at risk’ categories continue to remain low. In England and Wales, 43% of those aged under 65 and 68.5% of those over 65 have so far had the jab.

In Scotland, 47% of those aged under 65 and 70% of those over 65 have been vaccinated. The Scottish Government said it was particularly concerned that only 19% of pregnant women had received the flu vaccine.

http://www.webmd.boots.com/cold-and-flu ... ensive-car

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