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Swine flu death toll passes 100

The death toll of people suffering from swine flu is now at 106, the Chief Medical Officer has said.

Sir Liam Donaldson announced the number had passed the 100 mark at his weekly briefing at the Department of Health. He also announced that high-risk patients and frontline health workers in hospitals will be the first to be inoculated from 21 October.

England has seen 83 deaths, while there have been 15 in Scotland, four in Wales and four in Northern Ireland.

There was also a rise in the number of new flu cases diagnosed, up from 18,000 two weeks ago to 27,000 in the last week. About 37,000 people are estimated to have contracted the H1N1 virus so far in the UK, the Health Protection Agency said.

There were 364 people getting hospital treatment for the virus, up from 290, while those in intensive care numbered 74, up from 47.

Sir Liam said: "This is the highest proportion of hospitalised patients who have been in intensive care since this began.
"For most of the time it's been about 12%-13%, now it's up to 20%, suggesting we are seeing more serious cases than we were seeing before."

In a study, more than a quarter of 266 patients in hospital with confirmed swine flu had asthma, more than one in 10 had heart disease, while around 10% were diabetic and 6% were pregnant.

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