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Swine flu cases decreasing

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New cases of swine flu in England are decreasing and have stayed below the 5,000 mark for the third consecutive week, according to the Department of Health.

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Official figures in the DH’s first fortnightly statistical bulletin revealed GPs had 12.1 consultations for flu-like symptoms per 100,000 population in the week ending January 17.

The weekly number of new cases first dipped under 5,000 in the first week of January, but 211 people remain in hospital with swine flu, and 62 of those are in a critical condition.

The number of people using the National Pandemic Flu Service also fell, as 6,337 people received anti-viral drugs last week - considerably fewer than the 13,436 using the service in the first week of January.

Figures show 3.7 million people have received injections as part of England’s swine flu vaccination programme, which includes 214,000 children aged below five and 132,000 expectant mothers.

Chief medical officerSir Liam Donaldson said: “When the virus returns in the 2010 flu season, those who develop complications or die will be doing so from a vaccine- preventable disease.

“I strongly advise that those eligible for the vaccine who have not yet had it get the jab and protect themselves.”

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