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Health News

Swine flu patient dies in hospital

A patient suffering from swine flu has died in hospital, the Scottish Government said tonight.

The patient had underlying health conditions and was one one of ten people who were being treated in hospital in Scotland.

It is the first death in the UK of someone confirmed as having swine flu.

A statement released by the Scottish Government said tonight: "With regret, we can confirm that one of the patients who had been in hospital, and had been confirmed as suffering from the H1N1 virus, has died today.

"The patient had underlying health conditions."

The statement added that, at the family's request, no further details will be released tonight to allow the family some time to come to terms with their loss.

The hospital where the patient died has not been revealed but it is believed to be in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government would not confirm the gender of the person who died, nor their age, at this stage.

More information is expected to become available tomorrow.

Figures released earlier today revealed that nearly 500 Scots have now been confirmed as having swine flu.

Thirty-five new cases were confirmed in Scotland today, taking the total number to 498, officials said.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "I'd like to express my condolences to the patient's family and friends. This 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.

"I would reiterate that the risk to the general public remains low and we can all play our part in slowing the spread of the virus by following simple hygiene procedures - like washing your hands and using tissues when coughing or sneezing."

A further 61 cases of swine flu were confirmed in England today, bringing the UK total to 1,261.

There have now been 752 cases confirmed in England, 498 in Scotland, eight in Northern Ireland and three in Wales, according to figures released the Health Protection Agency and the Scottish Government.

Of the new cases, 39 appeared in the West Midlands, where 354 people have now been affected by the virus.

There were nine new cases in London, seven in Yorkshire and Humberside, three in the South East, two in the East of England and one in the South West.

In Scotland, 32 of the new cases are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, and the Highland, Forth Valley and Grampian health boards have one new case each.

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.

Earlier today Ms Sturgeon said: "We continue to see a rise in cases of Influenza A (H1N1) around the world, and Scotland is not isolated from that.

"Given the number of cases being confirmed in the West Midlands, there is an indication that the area is experiencing a level of spread similar to what we are seeing in Scotland."

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

He said the UK was well-prepared and the WHO's announcement did not affect the assessment of how the virus was behaving in the UK.

The last flu pandemic in 1968 killed about a million people.

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