First suspected case of swine flu hits Essex

PUBLISHED: 15:38 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 31 May 2010

PRECAUTIONARY measures are being taken by local authorities in Uttlesford after the first suspected case of swine flu hit Essex. Joint Emergency Planning Officer at Uttlesford District Council (UDC), Steve Daly, has issued advice to the public, but urged

PRECAUTIONARY measures are being taken by local authorities in Uttlesford after the first suspected case of swine flu hit Essex.

Joint Emergency Planning Officer at Uttlesford District Council (UDC), Steve Daly, has issued advice to the public, but urged "at the present time there is absolutely no cause for alarm".

"The activity being undertaken is a precautionary measure to ensure that we are fully prepared if the situation should deteriorate," he said.

A woman suffering symptoms of swine flu was admitted to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust said: "The Trust can confirm that a female patient was admitted to Broomfield Hospital with suspected swine flu.

"Whilst tests are being run the patient is being treated in isolation and infection control procedures are being scrupulously followed to ensure no other patient or member of staff is put at risk."

Cases of swine flu, also known as Mexican flu, were first detected in Mexico. Later the virus was reported in America, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and now the UK.

Mr Daly urged a common-sense approach to reducing the risk of infection such as washing hands regularly.

However, people who have recently travelled to the affected areas and are experiencing influenza-like symptoms should take extra precautions.

"They should stay at home to limit contact with others and seek medical advice by phone from a local health professional or NHS Direct," said Mr Daly. "In these circumstances do not go to your GP's surgery."

Suspected cases of the virus in the UK are all linked to people who have recently travelled to Mexico or the US.

A spokesman at Stansted Airport said: "At Stansted we have no flights coming in from North or South America so we have not had to cancel flights or issue staff with masks."

Any decision to screen passengers travelling on flights into Stansted Airport would be made by Port Health which is run by UDC.

Head of Environmental Health at UDC Geoff Smith said: "If a passenger suspected with symptoms of swine flu were to be reported by the aircrew or airport they would initially be assessed by a paramedic or ambulance crew and sent to hospital if necessary. The Port Medical Officer would be called to give advice and arrange any follow up actions necessary.

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