Sir Liam Donaldson has offered reassurances that further ‘healthy’ swine flu fatalities will be rare after a patient in Essex became the first person in the UK without underlying health problems to die of the disease.
NHS East of England said the victim died at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital on Friday.
A spokesperson from the hospital said ‘This case tragically underlines that, although the swine flu virus is proving generally mild in most people, it is more severe in some cases.’
Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, asked the public not to panic and stressed that symptoms are usually mild.
Speaking on the Today Programme he said: ‘When swine flu has produced severe illness it’s tended to be people with underlying health problems, in this case it was in a previously healthy adult and we’ve seen from other cases around the world that uncommonly this does occur.’
‘But it shows that all our planning, all our efforts, the stockpiling of anti-virals, the fact we will be one of the first countries to get a vaccine, all of those measures are extremely important.’
Fifteen people in total have now died in the UK as a result of swine flu.