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Further swine flu case emerges at London school

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The number of swine flu cases in the UK has risen to 39 after it emerged that four more people in Scotland and an adult at Alleyn’s school in London has caught the disease.

A total of 11 people at the school have been infected with the disease. One child brought the disease in following a visit to the United States, and the H1N1 virus has now been transmitted to nine children and one adult associated with the school.

The Health Protection Agency said that antiviral drugs were being handed out to people at the school.

There are a further 426 cases currently under investigation by the HPA. World Health Organisation figures show that the disease has now spread to 24 countries and there are 2,384 officially reported cases.

In Mexico, there have been 1112 laboratory confirmed cases and 42 deaths and in the United States 896 cases and two deaths.

There have been no other deaths but Canada has 214 laboratory confirmed cases, Spain has 81 and the UK has 39.

In statement to a special meeting of health ministers in Thailand, Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO said the world was well prepared for a flu pandemic.

Years of experience fighting the spread of H5N1 bird flu are helping prevent the spread of swine flu, she said.

Dr Chan said: ‘H5N1 taught the world to expect a pandemic, and to plan for this event.

‘The world is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history, thanks, in part, to your vigilance and diligence.

‘Years of alert and expectation mean that most countries now have preparedness plans. Vaccine manufacturing capacity has increased sharply. Large stocks of antiviral drugs have been produced and procured.’

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