NHS South West Essex has admitted that there are suspected cases of Swine Flu in the area.
YourThurrock is not prepared to go down the “92,000 Londoners could die” route (Evening Standard, April 30), so let us keep it nice and simple. Here is the press release from the PCT. There is a link to their site on our front page.
“NHS South West Essex would like to reassure people that we are prepared for any threat of an outbreak of pandemic flu, in light of the World Health Organisation (WHO) raising its pandemic flu alert last night from level from four to five.
The NHS in the east of England has in place comprehensive plans for any threat of pandemic flu. NHS South West Essex has followed this guidance along with the Department of Health and Health Protection Agency advice to ensure all parts of the local NHS and all frontline NHS staff are fully prepared.
Also today, the NHS has launched a recorded swine flu information line for anyone who wants to up to date information on the swine flu outbreak on 0800 1 513 513.
The recorded swine flu information line is not intended for those who are worried about contracting swine flu. The advice for those who have recently travelled to any of the affected areas and have flu-like symptoms remains the same – stay at home and call your GP, out of hours GP service or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice. It is important that anyone who meets these criteria contact a health professional as soon as possible in order to get treatment.
However, there is no need for people to feel alarmed by the current swine flu situation.
If you have not recently travelled to any of the affected areas or come into contact with someone who has, your chances of becoming infected are low. If you are in any doubt, however, the advice is to stay at home and phone your GP service or NHS Direct.
Dr Katherine Gronqvist, Director of Public Health for NHS South West Essex says: “NHS South West Essex has been informed that there are suspected cases of swine flu in our area, but there are no confirmed cases.
“We will not be giving a running commentary on suspected cases of swine flu in the area. In the coming days and weeks we would fully expect that many members of the public will contact their GP or NHS Direct seeking advice.
“These numbers are likely to change regularly, so it would be very difficult to provide helpful information with any certainty. Some of those people may require further assessment and treatment, others will not.”
Dr Paul Cosford, Regional Director of Public Health said: “People shouldn’t feel unduly alarmed by the recent cases of swine flu in the UK. There is still a low risk of contracting swine flu and the WHO has not declared a pandemic alert.
“The good news from affected areas is that people diagnosed with swine flu who receive anti-virals, like Tamiflu, early enough seem to be recovering.
“We have a range of measures in place, including enough anti-virals to treat people if they become ill in the event of a pandemic.”
General infection control practices and good respiratory hand hygiene can help to reduce transmission of all viruses, including the human swine influenza.
• Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible.
• Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
• Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
• Cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product.
• Making sure your children follow this advice.
If you are concerned you are at risk because you have recently travelled to any of the affected areas and you are developing influenza like symptoms, stay at home and phone your GP service or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47