Apparently the World Health Organisation is now referring to Swine Flu virus as the PANDEMIC (H1N1) 2009 Influenza. This is to distinguish it from seasonal H1N1 influenza virus and to avoid the stigma of associating the name with swine (taken from the National Travel Health Network and Centre Website).
With the new name also came a new strategy to deal with the outbreak in the UK. With the virus spreading and the number of new cases beginning to double every seven days, then the health authorities have moved away from trying to contain the virus to actively treat those infected.
In practical terms, this will mean GPs will be able to diagnose Swine Flu and treat people on the basis of symptoms rather than waiting for laboratory testing. Efforts to trace and treat people who may have had contact with the virus will cease. Anyone who has contracted Swine Flu will be offered antivirals. Local primary care trusts will also begin to establish designated antiviral collection points in their local communities. These may be at a pharmacy or a community centre, depending on local need.
David Nicholson the Chief Executive of the NHS in England in his recent letter to all NHS staff has confirmed that a vaccine will soon be available:
“As you may be aware, the Department of Health has signed contracts to purchase sufficient vaccine to vaccinate the entire population with the first deliveries arriving in August, and at least 60 million doses are expected by the end of the year. Decisions are yet to be made about who will be prioritised to receive the first doses of the vaccine, but I anticipate that frontline staff will be considered alongside other high priority groups in order to protect them, their families and their patients.”
A plethora of documents detailing the above “Treatment Phase” is available from the Department of Health Website. However, what seems more difficult to find is LOCAL information about Hull and East Riding infection rates or levels.