Health chief offers re-assurance over flu outbreak

Shetland’s director of public health has moved to re-assure people in the isles that there is no immediate threat of a flu outbreak here following the emergence of a seemingly deadly strain of swine influenza in Mexico.

Dr Sarah Taylor did advise, however, that if anyone was concerned about their own health they should get in touch with their GP or contact the NHS 24 service for advice.

More than 100 people have died in Mexico while there are 20 confirmed cases in the US, six in Canada, two in the UK and one in Spain.

The UK cases involve two people who had recently travelled to Mexico. They are being treated for a mild version of the strain in hospital in Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

UK health secretary Alan Johnson said on Monday afternoon that there were 27 possible cases of swine flu in this country, 17 of which were still under investigation.

According to health experts, the newly-detected virus comes from the same strain of flu that causes seasonal outbreaks among humans. However, it contains material from strains that usually affect only pigs and birds.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the outbreak has the potential to become a pandemic.

Dr Taylor said: “I would like to re-assure the public that there is currently no immediate threat of a flu outbreak in Shetland. However, if anyone is concerned about their own health, then please contact your GP or NHS 24 for advice.


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