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Swine flu figures fall as 64,000 contract virus

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Latest figures have revealed a drop in the number of new swine flu cases, with 64,000 people contracting the disease in England last week.

The drop from the preceding week’s 84,000 could be due to the half term school break.

It is difficult to interpret the new data as the half term impact could last for up to two weeks, chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said.

Children are known to spread the virus more easily than adults, resulting in inflated figures and Sir Liam suggested that it would be next week’s numbers which reveal a more accurate picture of how the virus is really developing.

The death toll from the H1N1 virus has risen to 124 in England, up from 105 in the previous week. There were, however, fewer people in hospital, 785, with 173 in intensive care.

Across the UK, 182 have died after contracting swine flu - 14 in Wales, 33 in Scotland and 11 in Northern Ireland.

New Department of Health guidance is urging pregnant women to have the vaccine as they are at higher risk of complications that many others.

“Our advice to pregnant women is if they are offered the vaccine, they should accept it,” Sir Liam said.

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