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UK swine flu "may have plateaued"

The government has said the spread of swine flu "may have plateaued" as it revealed there had been only a 10% increase in the number of new cases last week.

Figures show 110,000 new cases of swine flu were diagnosed in England last week - up from 100,000 new cases estimated in the previous weeks. The number of patients in hospitals has come down to 793 from last week's 840.

The government said that reliably assessing the number of affected people was "very challenging" as people have been contacting the National Pandemic Flu Service rather than queuing up outside their GPs for diagnosis.

It is believed that the start of school summer holidays has also contributed to the decrease in the number of cases.

The estimates for the number of swine flu infections among children in the 5-14 age group has decreased, but data reveal an increase for other age groups, and area-wise, in the north of England.

There have been no signs of resistance to Tamiflu and other anti-virals, and neither does the virus appear to be mutating. Swine flu has so far claimed 27 lives in England.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

National Pandemic Flu Service