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Swine Flu fortnightly report

This report from NHS West Midlands shows that the number of people with flu-like illness has slightly increased across the region.

Key Messages
Across the West Midlands there has been a mixed picture in patients presenting at primary care centres with influenza-like symptoms - some PCT areas show an increase, other areas show a decrease, in rates. Overall, the West Midlands rate has slightly increased but this is not impacting on normal service delivery. The number of people with swine flu admitted to hospitals in the West Midlands has increased, as has the proportion of patients in critical care. There have been six further swine flu related deaths since our last report.

Activity /Rates – GPs
This shows the number of patients attending primary care with influenza-like illness, taken from the latest Health Protection Agency QSurveillance data. This data indicates an increase for the week ending 1 November 2009, across England, West Midlands and within Birmingham East and North.

The reported rate of GP consultations per 100,000 population within the West Midlands for the week was 50.9 (compared with 49.8 for the previous week).

West Midlands average 50.9 (per 100,000)
England and Wales rate 47.3 (per 100,000)
NHS Birmingham East and North 53.3 (per 100,000)

Number of Hospital Admissions
The total number of new admissions with swine flu admitted to hospitals in the West Midlands for the period 29 October to 4 November 2009 is 203. As of 4 November, there were 95 people in hospital, 27% of which are in critical care.

Number of Swine Flu Related Deaths
There have been six swine flu-related deaths reported in the last two weeks since our previous report. This means that the number of total deaths where there has been a positive test of swine flu in the West Midlands is nineteen.

Update on Anti-Viral Collection Points (ACPs)
Total number of Antiviral Collection Points planned for the Local Health Economy: 14
Currently open: 1 (Stechford)

The PCT currently has 1 ACP open which is in line with the current level of need. Plans are in place to open more collection points to meet any increase in demand.

Total number of assessments via the National Flu Pandemic Service (West Midlands): 180,699
Total number of antivirals collected (West Midlands): 88,462

Vaccination Programme
GPs across the region started to receive supplies of the swine flu vaccine last week and will be contacting patients in the ‘at risk’ groups directly to call them in for vaccination.

The order of priority for vaccination will be:
People aged from six months to 65 years in current seasonal flu risk groups
All pregnant women
Those living with people with compromised immune systems, for example those receiving cancer treatment
People aged over 65 in the current seasonal flu risk groups.
NHS hospitals continue to vaccinate front line staff to help keep medical services running smoothly and to prevent them from passing the virus to patients. The vaccination programme has started well across the West Midlands.

Public Health Message
A National Pandemic Flu Service has been launched to ensure that people with flu or flu-like symptoms are able to get advice and help. The service is made up of a dedicated website and call centres which provide people with a quick way to check their symptoms and get access to antiviral drugs. For most people, swine flu is not a serious illness and they should start to feel better after a few days without needing to go to their GP or A&E.

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