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North London man is latest swine flu victim

PUBLISHED: 13:33 30 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:09 07 September 2010

A north London man is the latest to fall victim to the potentially deadly swine flu. Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson confirmed a 22-year-old man from Barnet was admitted to hospital last night (Wednesday) after contracting the virus following a

A north London man is the latest to fall victim to the potentially deadly swine flu.

Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson confirmed a 22-year-old man from Barnet was admitted to hospital last night (Wednesday) after contracting the virus following a recent trip to Mexico.

He was moved from his home, where he was being treated, to hospital in response to a Commons question from Barnet MP Theresa Villiers.

Mr Johnson also informed the House of Commons he believes the World Health Organisation (WHO) may raise the level of alert to Phase 6, it's highest state of alert, within weeks.

The organisation is currently at Phase 5 - a strong sign that a pandemic is imminent. Phase 6 will indicate a global pandemic is already underway.

In neighbouring Camden, University College London Hospital (UCLH) in Euston has also confirmed tests are being carried out on two patients suspected to be suffering from swine flu.

The mutant virus originated in Mexico where it is estimated to have claimed up to 150 lives, and cases have now been confirmed in the US, Canada, Israel, Spain, New Zealand and Scotland.

A spokesman for UCLH said: "There are two possible cases of swine flu. Two people attended the hospital with mild symptoms. Initial tests indicated further tests are necessary.

"Both patients are now receiving drugs at home via community services, not in hospital.

"We advise that if people have recently visited one of the countries or areas where human cases of swine influenza they should monitor their health for a period of seven days.

"If patients develop one or more of a sore throat, a cough, a headache or muscle ache, they should stay at home and contact their GP or call NHS Direct for advice."

Elsewhere experts at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead said it was 'likely' that the UK would be involved in the outbreak.

Dr Tim Peachey, the hospital's divisional director of urgent care, said: "The swine influenza outbreak in Mexico is being investigated to establish what the true position is.

"This is an evolving situation and it is likely that more countries, including the UK, will be involved.

"The hospital is awaiting further advice from the Health Protection Agency and NHS London, but as an interim measure we are adopting the advice currently available via the HPA website."

The current outbreak of swine flu, also known as the mutant H1N1 virus, could infect up to 40 per cent of Britons if the country is hit by a pandemic, according to Professor Neil Ferguson - one of the WHO experts who raised the alert over the outbreak to level four.

Also in north London, Arsenal's Mexican striker Carlos Vela has been placed in temporary quarantine after it emerged he had recently spent time with friends from his homeland.

On its website, Camden NHS said it was monitoring the health situation closely but that flu-like illnesses in the UK are currently very low, which is the norm for this time of year.

It states that in the event of a pandemic outbreak, existing UK stockpiles of antiviral medicine would make it possible to treat half of the population in what is described as a worst case scenario.

The WHO website advises people that there is no risk of infection from this virus from the consumption of "well-cooked pork and pork products.


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