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"People will wish to know whether they should wear facemasks. "Although we are aware that facemasks are being given out to the public in Mexico, the available scientific evidence does not support the general wearing of facemasks by those who are not ill, whilst going about their normal activities."
...Mr Johnson said preparations had been going on to cope with a flu pandemic for the last five years.
"We have established a stockpile of enough anti-virals to treat more than 33m people, that is to say half of the UK population," he said.
...Officials said the UK should expect to see an outbreak of the virus.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has a procedure for confirming whether or not a patient has swine flu.
• If a patient rings their GP or NHS Direct to report symptoms, they will be told to stay at home, not to visit a surgery or hospital
• The HPA has prepared an "algorithm" - in essence, a flow chart - for suspected cases. On the phone, or possibly even face to face depending on the circumstances, the patient's GP or NHS Direct will take the patient through the algorithm
• If the answers to the algorithm lead the questioner to believe the patient may have swine flu, a sample will be taken that will then be sent to one of the HPA's network of regional labs for testing
• If the sample is confirmed as influenza type A, it will then be sent to the HPA's Reference Lab at the Centre for Infections in Colindale, where they will carry out genetic typing on it and establish whether it is a confirmed case of swine flu
The fear has been that a pandemic could cause tens of millions of deaths and official predictions here suggest the death toll in the UK could range between 50,000 and 750,000.
Originally posted by suziwong
On Sky news (online) earlier this afternoon, there was an article about ONE suspected case of swine flu in Sale - Manchester
The UK is one of the best prepared countries to deal with swine flu and "all action necessary" will be taken to stop its spread, Gordon Brown has said.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: "There are no more confirmed cases at this stage, although undoubtedly there will be"...
...He said the government proposed to use its stockpile of anti-viral drugs to treat patients showing symptoms of the disease, should the virus start spreading in the UK.
England's Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: "If a new pandemic does start as a result of this outbreak in Mexico and the United States, we can't make it go away, but what we can do through our plans, particularly our stockpiles of anti-virals, is mitigate its effect."