Five more cases of swine flu confirmed

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Five new cases of swine flu were confirmed yesterday, taking the UK total to 117, health officials said. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the new cases were two adults from London, two adults from the South-east and a child from the West Midlands.

Two of the cases were returning travellers, one is linked to a previously confirmed case and the source of infection remains under investigation in the other two cases, the HPA said. Earlier, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said swine flu was a "sneaky virus" which was likely to keep spreading to new parts of the world and within countries already affected. Margaret Chan said: "This is a subtle, sneaky virus. It does not announce its presence or arrival in a new country with a sudden explosion of patients seeking medical care or requiring hospitalisation. We expect it to continue to spread to new countries and continue to spread within countries already affected." Dr Chan also said she was going along with many of the WHO's 193 member states which had urged caution in declaring a pandemic. "Even the best-laid plans need to be fluid and flexible when a new virus emerges and starts changing the rules," she said. The WHO's alert currently stands at phase 5, meaning a pandemic is "imminent".

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