Doctors confirm two new UK cases of 'swine flu'

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Two more cases of "swine flu" were confirmed in Britain yesterday amid encouraging signs that the virus which has raised fears of a deadly pandemic is not so far showing its expected ferocity.

As Britain's known cases rose to 15 with the diagnosis of an adult in the North-west and a six-year-old child in Oxfordshire, news came from Mexico that the number of suspected deaths from the flu has been cut from 176 to 101. Friday night brought no new fatalities, and fewer patients with fevers are checking into hospital. Confirmed infections now total 653 in 16 countries. A further 631 possible UK cases are under investigation.

Professor John Newton, from the NHS South Central Strategic Health Authority, said: "The child concerned was identified very soon after returning from Mexico; did not attend school before being treated; and is making a good recovery at home." He said the risk for anyone who has not been to Mexico or the US was "very low indeed". The second new case was the husband of a woman who was confirmed with the virus yesterday. Both had recently visited Mexico.

Dr Alan McNally, at Nottingham Trent University, said: "This is still a nasty, nasty influenza. It's crucial we don't go down the route of becoming blasé – it's still a major influenza episode."