Swine flu cases double as second wave hits UK

5,000 new infections recorded as calls to pandemic hotline rise 'significantly'

A second wave of swine flu is on the way, the Government's Chief Medical Officer said yesterday after the number of cases in England almost doubled in the past seven days to 9,000.

Sir Liam Donaldson said there were 5,000 cases last week in England and 3,000 in the week before. Scotland saw a slower increase from over 6,000 cases to 7,000. While most cases continue to be mild the number of swine flu related deaths for the UK rose to 82.

"Everything suggests we are seeing the start of the second peak, but we just don't know how big that will be," Sir Liam said. Calls to the National Pandemic Flu Service for England in the last three days were "substantially above" the rate over the past few weeks, he said.

The number of people being treated in hospital in England rose by more than half, from 143 last week to 218 this week. Of these, 25 patients are in intensive care. Although yesterday's figures are sharply up on recent weeks, they fall far short of the first peak of the pandemic in July, when England was seeing around 100,000 cases a week.

The levels are also a long way off the normal levels of seasonal flu in winter.

Sir Liam said: "I would have preferred not to have seen any increases yet and had more flatlining because that gets us close to the vaccine becoming available. I would have preferred to have had more breathing space."

Most of the latest rise is among children aged five to 15. At least 66 schools have had swine flu outbreaks since the start of the autumn term, according to official figures, but Sir Liam admitted the true figure was probably higher. Data on schools was not being systematically collected, he said.

Measures that would make a big difference in schools include regularly washing hands with soap and water, throwing tissues away and covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.

"Research across a lot of children's diseases does show that that cuts the rate," he said. "Parents of children with underlying illnesses should consult their doctor (if they have flu) and children with flu-like symptoms and whose condition deteriorates should consult their doctor because that might be an indication that they have serious complications of flu or have another serious illness of childhood."

The Government is waiting for European regulators to licence the swine flu vaccine before it can be given to members of the public.

Those in high-risk groups, such as people with asthma or diabetes, will be vaccinated first, together with health workers. Evidence suggests that people may only need one dose of the jab rather than two, although children may still need two after showing a lower immune response in clinical trials.

Sir Liam said he was "optimistic" that the country may be able to rely on one dose for adults.

The World Health Organisation said yesterday drug manufacturers could only make enough vaccine against H1N1 pandemic flu for half the world's population each year because they lack factory capacity. It revised down its earlier forecast of 5 billion doses a year to 3 billion for the world's 6.8 billion population. Developing nations will depend mainly on donations for their supply, WHO said.

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Process Improvement Analyst (Testing)

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Service Delivery Manager - Derivatives, Support,

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...

    Technical Account Manager - Java, FIX Protocol, FIX 5.0, C++

    £30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...

    WPF .NET Developer

    £300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...

    Day In a Page

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform