Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Devon schoolgirl has Swine Flu

Gordon Brown announced in the House of Commons earlier today (at PMQs) that a 12 year old girl from Paignton plus a couple of adults from other parts of England have been confirmed as having swine flu in addition to the newly married couple from Scotland that we already knew about. As a precaution the girl's school, Paignton Community College, has closed temporarily and the pupils have been offered anti-viral drugs. It turns out that all five of those in Britain who have contracted the illness have recently returned from Mexico.

So should we be unduly concerned about all this? Well the BBC has a useful and comprehensive Q & A page on its news website that you can access by clicking here. This answers a lot of questions, the BBC are good on this sort of thing. One or two general observations: apparently the early symptoms of swine flu are very similar to those of the common seasonal flu that people get - this makes me wonder therefore if there are more folk in the UK with this new flu than statistics are suggesting. The next thing is that the government are rightly trying to downplay the situation somewhat, the very last thing needed is any sort of mass panic. Thanks to the fairly recent threat of avian flu, yet to mutate to something much nastier, our country seems to be as prepared as any in dealing with a pandemic - not everything is bad about Britain!

I was pleased to see both Cameron and Brown being statesmanlike at PMQs today about the swine flu when Cameron led on this subject. The experts tell us that the World is overdue to have a pandemic so this could certainly be one. One final point - the name swine flu is a little unfortunate in as much people might think eating pork, bacon and ham is now a no-no. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes you have to cook pork thoroughly but that's always been the case. So 'bon-appetit'.

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