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Swine flu - everything you need to know

  • Published: Monday, 11 May 2009
Swine flu information - ring 0800 1 513 513

Swine flu, or influenza A (H1N1), has arrived in the UK. The sections below provide health and travel advice and more information on what swine flu is and what the government is doing to help combat it.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

For people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, some services and telephone helpline numbers are different from those in England. See the link below for information around the UK.

Latest news

Around the world

WHO figures: 6:00 am GMT, Monday 11 May

  • 30 countries affected worldwide
  • 4,694 confirmed cases worldwide
  • 53 confirmed deaths (48 in Mexico, 3 in US, 1 in Canada, 1 in Costa Rica)

Ten further patients under investigation in England have today been confirmed with swine flu. There are now 65 confirmed cases in the UK. A further 336 cases are being investigated.

In the East of England swine flu has been confirmed in an adult and child who are returning travellers, an adult who is a close contact of a previously confirmed case and an adult whose source of infection remains under investigation. In London cases have been confirmed in an adult and child who are both close contacts of previously confirmed cases. In the North West cases have been confirmed in two adults who are returning travellers and one adult who is a close contact of a previously confirmed case. In the South East a case has been confirmed in a child who is a returning traveller.

Public gatherings

There are no restrictions on public gatherings like music festivals. The Department of Health is advising people to carry on with their daily lives as normal.

Swine flu information leaflet

As well as the standard English version, the Swine Flu Information leaflet is also available in more than 15 other languages. Large print and spoken versions are available for people who have difficulty reading, as is a Braille copy for the partially sighted.

What is swine flu (influenza A H1N1)?

Swine influenza is a disease in pigs. The virus currently transmitting directly among people is now generally referred to as swine flu although the origin of the disease is still under investigation. There is no evidence of this strain of the disease circulating in pigs in the UK.  

Find out more about the cause of swine flu and how it differs from ordinary flu.

Protecting yourself against swine flu

Swine flu, like seasonal flu, is easily spread by the tiny droplets in a cough or sneeze. You may sneeze into an empty space but you will leave germs on a surface that another person will pick up simply by touching that surface.

By taking a few simple steps you can help to reduce the risk of getting swine flu and to stop the virus spreading.

Government action

The UK was the first European country to have a contingency plan in place for pandemic flu. At both national and local levels the public sector is working on pre-prepared contingency plans to help fight swine flu.

Find out what the government is doing to help combat swine flu and protect everyone living in the UK.

International travel advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to Mexico. If you'd like more travel advice for specific countries, follow the link below to the FCO website.

If you are in Mexico, routine Consular and all visa services at the Embassy in Mexico City have been suspended until further notice. If you have an urgent consular issue, call the British Embassy on (01 55) 5242 8500 for help.

Flu alert levels

Find out exactly what the World Health Organisation (WHO) phases mean and how this can indicate how far the virus has spread.

WHO alert phase: 5

School and exam advice

Follow these simple tips to keep your child safe, find out how you can help your child's school or childcare provider minimise the risks and what to do about your child's exams.

Advice for businesses

Follow the link below for information on how to prepare your business for swine flu.

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