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.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

    £15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

    £60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

    Day In a Page

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
    RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

    RuPaul interview

    The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
    Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

    Secrets of comedy couples

    What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
    Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

    Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

    While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
    The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

    The best swimwear for men

    From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
    Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

    Mark Hix goes summer foraging

     A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
    Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

    With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

    Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
    Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

    Aaron Ramsey interview

    Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
    Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

    Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

    As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
    The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

    Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

    Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms