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High-risk groups advised over flu

The government has advised pregnant women and the elderly to take extra precautions amid the swine flu epidemic.

Outlining its swine flu advice for high-risk groups, the Department of Health suggested it would be better for pregnant women to avoid unnecessary travel and crowded places as they are more prone to infections due to weakened immune systems.

Those above 65 and children below five have also been classified under the high-risk category. The Department of Health is launching a new pandemic service as authorities attempt to calm fears among Britons awaiting the arrival of the swine flu vaccine.

Meanwhile, existing swine flu advice has been put together on the NHS website under one section, making it easier for people to find it, if necessary.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said they have not yet decided on the priority for distribution of the much-awaited vaccines.

She also said that pregnant women could take antivirals and be given vaccines, while denying that couples were being asked to delay conception amid the swine flu outbreak.

Health secretary Andy Burnham is set to update MPs on swine flu, including the launch of the national pandemic flu service to ease pressure on NHS staff.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Department of Health