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Swine flu spread sparks concerns

The doubling of swine flu victims in a single week is a source for concern, not alarm. Many may be surprised at the rapid spread of the virus.

In the past week alone, doctors have diagnosed more than 9,180 new cases.

Human swine flu now accounts for around 80pc of all influenza cases.

This is troubling for a number of reasons especially in the context of hospital over-crowding.

In total there have been 28 deaths from human swine flu here since 2000.

The figures are now higher than they were at the peak seen during the swine flu pandemic here in late 2009.

But Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health is adamant that hospitals can cope with the extra pressure, and that more beds could be made available should they be required.

There is no reason to doubt Dr Holohan, but it is regrettable that the scale of the new outbreak was not known to the general public until now.

It is also worth reminding people that while Swine Flu is extremely debilitating, in the majority of cases, patients make a full recovery.

And it is important to keep in mind that patients who feel they have the symptoms, should not present themselves to Accident and Emergency Departments if the risk of spreading the virus is to be contained.

Dr Holohon believes that the number of new cases should level off within the next two weeks, and he also says that extra doses of the vaccine are being sent to GPs.

Providing the necessary steps are taken Dr Holohon's assurances should be accepted.