Deaths from swine flu expected to top 1000

The number of fatalities from swine flu in the UK is expected to reach 1000, according to revised figures released this week in a planning paper.

These figures come as four Scots with swine flu died in the space of 24 hours. All four had underlying health problems.

This brings the total number of fatalities in Scotland to 21, with six of the deaths coming in the past week.

Community samples testing positive for H1N1 has taken a 9.2% from the previous week’s figures, now lying at 38.5%.

A health spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “These deaths are extremely regrettable.

“We are predicting 1000 deaths from the virus, although this is predicated by the uptake on the vaccine. Hopefully those at risk will be encouraged to take the vaccine, swine flu is very high profile and we are hoping that people realise that there is a real threat from the virus.”

1.3 million Scots are eligible for the swine flu vaccination programme, with pregnant women, care workers and the elderly being targeted as priority groups in this band.

The introduction of the vaccination programme comes as 108 Scottish people were admitted to hospital with the virus in the past week.

Despite the number of Scots complaining of flu-like symptoms decreasing from 106.3 per 100,000 to 88.5, this figure nonetheless remains at a higher level than is normally seen.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “”Since the start of September the number of hospitalised cases has more than doubled.

” This rise has always been expected as we approach winter, but this means it is even more vital that those deemed at risk do all they can to protect themselves including taking advantage of the vaccination programme.”

New figures indicate that the ‘attack rate’ prediction- the number of those affected by the virus – is down from 30% of the population to 12%< with work absence rates down to 5%.