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Europe

First death in Europe of a swine-flu patient

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-22

Scottish officials confirmed the first swine flu-related death in Great Britain - the first outside of the Americas - on Sunday. The World Health Organisation upped its warnings to declare the first influenza pandemic in four decades on Thursday.

AFP - A patient suffering from swine flu died Sunday in hospital in Scotland, health officials announced, in the first death of a patient with the virus in Britain and the first outside the Americas.
   
"With regret, we can confirm that one of the patients who had been in hospital, and had been confirmed as suffering from the H1N1 virus, has died today," said a statement issued by the Scottish Government.
   
"The patient had underlying health conditions."
   
The statement said that no further details would be released Sunday to give the family time to come to terms with their loss.
   
The World Health Organisation on Thursday declared the first influenza pandemic in four decades, saying the further spread of swine flu was "inevitable".
   
The A(H1N1) virus has so far infected almost 30,000 people in 74 countries since it was first detected in Mexico in April, according to the latest WHO figures released Friday, which put the death toll then at 145.
   
Up to now the deaths had been limited to the Americas.
   
In Scotland, the patient who died was one of 10 people diagnosed with swine flu who had been hospitalised, out of almost 500 cases across the country. In Britain as a whole, 1,226 people have been confirmed to have the virus.
   
Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon offered her condolences to the family, but said people should not panic.
   
"Tragic though today's death is, I would like to emphasise that the vast majority of those who have H1N1 are suffering from relatively mild symptoms," she said in a statement.
   
"I would reiterate that the risk to the general public remains low and we can all play our part in slowing the spread of the virus by following simple hygiene procedures -- like washing your hands and using tissues when coughing or sneezing."
   
Earlier, she said Scotland was "one of the best prepared countries in the world" to deal with the virus.

Date created : 2009-06-14

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