A seventh case of swine flu has been confirmed in Northern Ireland, just hours after politicians were warned that the province should brace itself for more cases in the coming days and weeks.
The latest case, details of which emerged last night, is a man who was a contact of a previously confirmed case.
The Department of Health said he had mild flu symptoms and was recovering at home.
The Public Health Agency is arranging a follow-up of people who were in close contact with him since he developed symptoms.
Stormont Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “It is not surprising that other cases are beginning to emerge and I would again urge people not to be alarmed. I am pleased to hear that this man is recovering well.”
The minister added: “The public can be reassured that we are prepared for a situation like this. Our containment strategy to use anti-virals to slow the spread of the virus also appears to be effective, as well as reducing symptoms.
“But we cannot be complacent. We will continue to be vigilant to ensure we are well placed to deal with any emergency.”
Mr McGimpsey has predicted that the number of confirmed instances in the region is set to rise in the weeks ahead.
“Given this increasing number of cases worldwide, we can expect to see more here,” he told MLAs yesterday.
Another two cases in Northern Ireland were also confirmed earlier this week. The man and woman had returned separately from Florida and New York. They are being treated at home with anti-viral drugs and are recovering well.
Mr McGimpsey said if incidents reach a certain level local health authorities will have to look closely at how they manage the supply of anti-virals.
“Currently in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the UK, we are following a containment strategy - supplying antivirals both to those who develop the disease and, as a preventive measure, to their close contacts,” he said.
“This strategy has been effective to date in delaying the spread of the disease, and buying us valuable time. The number of people developing this disease will certainly rise over the coming weeks, as we have already seen in parts of Scotland and England.”
For more information and guidance on swine flu go to NI Direct