Moves to calm swine flu fears of pregnant mums
Health officials sought to allay fears over the impact of swine flu on pregnant women and young children last night.
The Department of Health have now clarified advice on how expectant mothers should protect themselves following a series of apparently mixed messages.
It posted a new document, containing previously issued advice focused on swine flu and pregnancy, to a prominent position on its health website (www.dh.gov.uk) yesterday.
Concerns were heightened after a woman with swine flu died last week shortly after giving birth prematurely. The 39-year-old, who died in Whipps Cross Hospital, was named by her brother as Ruptara Miah.
Although experts said the virus was mild in the majority of cases, NHS advice stated that pregnant women were more susceptible to infections.
The Government is expected to face a dilemma when it comes to deciding who will be vaccinated when doses become available later this year amid conflicting advice being issued on inoculating mothers-to-be.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said no decisions had yet been made on who would be vaccinated.
The DH also reiterated reassurances about the potential effects of the virus, stating: “While most pregnant women with swine flu will only have mild symptoms, there is a higher risk of developing complications. If you are pregnant and think you may have swine flu, call your GP.”
Earlier, advice for holidaymakers was released, warning Britons not to travel if they have swine flu. As schools break up, the Department of Health advised people with the virus to delay journeys until symptoms had gone.
Officials have warned that visitors to a number of countries would have to face strict screening procedures as the swine flu illness spreads.
This was demonstrated in China, where 52 British schoolchildren and teachers were placed in quarantine in a Beijing hotel after eight teenagers in the group were diagnosed with swine flu.