First swine flu death in UK

A female patient in a Scottish hospital has become the first person in the UK to die of swine flu.

The patient, who died yesterday, had underlying health conditions and was one of ten people receiving hospital treatment for the H1N1 virus, the Scottish Government said.

The government has not released any further details of the case, including the person's age, or the nature of her pre-existing health problems. However the name of the hospital has been confirmed as the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

The death came as the total number of confirmed swine flu cases in the UK reached 1,261 yesterday after 61 new cases in England were confirmed as H1N1.

There have now been 752 cases confirmed in England, 498 in Scotland, eight in Northern Ireland and three in Wales, according to the Health Protection Agency and the Scottish Government. The UK's first cases of swine flu were confirmed in Scotland on April 27. Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "It is a tragedy for those concerned and they have my heartfelt sympathy. Tragic though today's death is, I would like to emphasise that the vast majority of those who have H1N1 are suffering from relatively mild symptoms."

Professor Hugh Pennington, a bacteriologist at Aberdeen University, said the death of a patient from swine flu was "to be expected" given the number of cases. "It does not point to the virus getting nastier. All the evidence to date suggests the virus is not changing at all," he said.

"This is a flu virus, it is in no way different from an ordinary winter flu virus, so if there are enough cases some people will have to be admitted to hospital and some will die."

One death out of more than a thousand cases was "quite unremarkable" and compared favourably to ordinary seasonal flu, he said, adding that the patient's underlying health problems would have been a significant factor. "It makes it more likely that they will get the serious form of the virus in the first place.

"If your lungs are already only working at half capacity when the virus kicks in and takes half of what is left, you will be left teetering on the edge. It raises the odds that a patient will experience serious difficulties. Anti virals damp down the virus but they are not curative, and once symptoms have developed they don't work nearly as well," he added.

The virus develops as pneumonia, attacking cells lining the lungs and preventing the transfer of oxygen.

Yesterday saw the biggest one-day rise in the number of confirmed infections, with 172 patients in England and Scotland confirmed with the H1N1 virus. Of the new cases, 39 appeared in the West Midlands, where 354 people have now been affected by the virus. Scotland had 55 more cases, including 42 people from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. Another 486 possible cases in the UK are under investigation. A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are continuing to work to slow the spread of the disease and to put in place arrangements to ensure that the UK is well-placed to deal with this new infection."

On Friday, Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, encouraged people not to panic after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that the world was in the grip of a flu pandemic, the first in more than 40 years.

Mr Burnham said the UK was well-prepared and the WHO announcement did not affect the assessment of how the virus was behaving in the UK. The last flu pandemic in 1968, known as Hong Kong flu, killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide.

Around 30,000 cases of swine flu have so far been detected in more than 70 countries, and at least 145 people have died worldwide.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

    £90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

    1st Line Service Desk Analyst

    £27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style