UK swine flu cases reach 500

The number of people with swine flu in the UK rose past the 500 mark, health officials said.

The Health Protection Agency said yesterday 19 further cases in England had been confirmed along with 35 cases in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland, taking the total number of UK cases to 541.

The news comes as it emerged a woman critically ill with swine flu had given birth to a premature baby.

In England, five of the new cases were in the South East, four in London, four in the east of England, two in the East Midlands, two in the West Midlands, one in the North West and another in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

On Monday, a woman who is one of three people with swine flu still in intensive care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Renfrewshire, gave birth almost three months early.

The baby's mother, 38, is in a critical but stable condition and it is understood the baby, who is also being looked after in intensive care, does not have swine flu.

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokeswoman said: "The baby was delivered at the Royal Alexandra Hospital on Monday afternoon at 29 weeks gestation.

"Appropriate senior staff were present.

"The baby has been looked after in intensive care as expected for a baby of this gestation.

"The baby is clinically stable receiving appropriate medical and nursing care."

Other swine flu patients who remain in intensive care include a 45-year-old man, who is in a critical but stable condition, and a 23-year-old woman who is stable and improving.