This site is intended for health professionals only

Two new cases of swine flu in UK

A child is one of two new cases of swine flu diagnosed in the UK, it has been revealed.

Addressing MPs, Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the affected youngster is a pupil at one of the five schools that have already closed.

But Mr Johnson reassured MPs there was no evidence of "sustained" person-to-person transmission of the disease in this country at present.

However, he did say: "This does remain a serious situation, which could rapidly escalate."

The Health Protection Agency reports the total number of those infected in the UK to now be 34, with 390 people undergoing laboratory tests to check for the H1N1 virus.

MPs were told a new alternative quick response system was in the pipeline in case the outbreak escalated, with a dedicated flu helpline also set to open in the autumn.

The chief medical officer said the H1N1 virus is similar but not the same as the usual seasonal flu and Spanish flu.

He said older people in the UK may have encountered the virus before and developed a level of immunity if the human part of the virus has not mutated.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Health Protection Agency