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The latest news on pandemic flu

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Over the last couple of weeks, we have started to see the weekly numbers of new swine flu cases decreasing slightly. While it is too early to confirm that this will be an ongoing trend, it is positive news.

Alongside this reduction in the number of cases, there is still a relatively high proportion of patients in hospital and critical care, and we are still seeing a number of deaths from swine flu.

As of 19 November, the swine flu vaccination programme was extended to offer protection against the virus to children between six months and five years of age.

Vaccination of people in clinical at-risk groups and frontline NHS staff is well under way, and vaccinating these groups remains a priority to protect those at greatest risk from swine flu.

Vaccination is the best way for you to protect yourself, your family, your colleagues and those in your care from swine flu.

Pregnant women are at greater risk of serious illness from swine flu. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women and the DH has produced a leaflet that will help pregnant women make a decision about vaccination.

Additional new guidance - including clinical management guidelines for the treatment of patients with swine flu and updated guidance for preparing maternity services - has also been published.

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