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Swine flu victim hospitalised

A man suffering from swine flu has been admitted to hospital in Northern Ireland, Stormont's Health minister said today.

The patient is one of five new cases of the virus in the region, taking the overall total to 24.

But he is the first whose condition has required hospital treatment. He was admitted to the Ulster Hospital suffering chest symptoms - his condition has been described as stable.

Staff and patients who were in contact with him have received anti-virals, as have his close friends and family.

The patient had recently travelled back to the region from England and Scotland.

Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "This is the first case of confirmed swine flu which has resulted in admission to hospital in Northern Ireland. The patient's condition is stable. Staff and patients who have been in close contact with this patient have received antivirals.

"The other four cases have mild symptoms and are recovering at home."

Those people had travelled in the USA, Australia or England.

Mr McGimpsey added: "While this is a new development, it reflects the situation across the UK where a small number of confirmed cases have required hospital admission because their symptoms have been more severe.

"I would like to reassure the public that the majority of swine flu cases continue to be mild and respond well to antivirals.

"We expect the number of cases of swine flu to continue to increase over the next few weeks and it is important that the public take steps to protect themselves. If you have been to an area where there have been significant numbers of swine flu cases such as the USA, Australia, England and Scotland and are feeling unwell, stay at home and contact your GP for advice.

"Following good hygiene practices such as frequent hand-washing will also help. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, put the tissue in a bin and then wash your hands - catch it, bin it, kill it."

Charlotte McArdle, Director of Nursing and lead in Infection Control at the South Eastern Health Trust said: "We have taken advice from the Public Health Agency and we are following all protocols. The situation is being managed and will be reviewed frequently. I would like to reassure the public, our patients and staff that there is minimal risk and that all isolation measures are being implemented."

For further information on swine fever you can go to NiDirect

Belfast Telegraph