Swine Flu on the Rise Again in Britain

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 18 2009 2:19 PM

The number of new swine flu cases is rising again in Britain, notably among children returning to school after the summer break, according to official figures released Thursday.

An estimated 5,000 new cases were reported in England last week, the first rise since July in Britain -- the worst-hit country in Europe by the A(H1N1) virus.

"The rates of flu-like illness and related activity have started to increase in England. The increase was mainly seen in school age children," the Health Protection Agency said in a weekly update on the pandemic.

The number of deaths of people with swine flu stands at 79 in Britain, including 67 in England, nine in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.

Those in hospital with suspected pandemic flu have levelled overall at around 140.

The Scottish government, which has responsibility for health services there, said it had seen a "marked increase" in the number of people going to see their doctors with suspected swine flu.

Experts have always warned of a second wave of flu as the northern hemisphere winter nears. Pharmacologists have been working on vaccines over the summer, aiming to produce the first usable drugs as early as October.