It’s now just over a month since our last update on the swine flu pandemic, with our special focus on it’s relevance for our many thousands of readers who have an interest in lowering their blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
We didn’t want to bombard you with daily updates and worthless statistics that would lessen the impact of any important breaking news. Instead we have been closely monitoring the daily development of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, which is a potentially serious condition for heart disease patients, and have been, and will continue to publish information when we feel there has been a significant development.
That point was reached last Friday, July 17th, with the announcement by the UK government’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, that the UK National Health Service (NHS) should PLAN for up to 65,000 deaths, which at it’s peak would equate to over 350 deaths per day.
There are a number of other indicators that would seem to support this grave development :-
- An otherwise healthy six year old girl – Chloe Buckley died within 48 hours of first complaining of having a sore throat.
- An otherwise healthy 64 year old physician – Doctor Michael Day died after falling ill after treating patients with the swine flu virus
There have now been over 50,000 cases of swine flu infection in the UK since the first confirmed case on April 27th 2009. 600 of these cases have resulted in the hospitalisation of the patient, and the death toll has now reached 29.
Retired UK medics are being recalled from retirement to help to deal with the huge increase in workload that has been placed on the National Health Service as a result of the swine flu pandemic.
The UK has formally moved from a swine flu containment, to a treatment phase since July 2nd 2009. This has switched the emphasis from containment of the swine flu virus, for example by closing schools, to increased capacity for the treatment of the daily increasing numbers of patients who are contracting the virus.
Heart disease patients are among the high risk groups for swine flu
Some people are considered to be at greater risk of serious illness if they catch swine flu, and need to begin a course of antiviral medication as soon as they have been confirmed as having the illness. Occasionally, some doctors may advise high-risk patients to take antiviral medication before the onset of any symptoms, especially if a close friend or family member has been diagnosed with swine flu.
The risk profile of the virus is still under investigation, but it is already known that the following people are particularly vulnerable to serious complications if they contract the virus:
• people with:
– chronic lung disease
– chronic heart disease
– chronic kidney disease
– chronic liver disease
– chronic neurological disease (neurological disorders include motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease)
– immunosuppression (whether caused by disease or treatment)
– diabetes mellitus,
• patients who have had drug treatment for asthma in the past three years,
• pregnant women,
• people aged 65 years and older, and
• children under five years old