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More swine flu cases confirmed

PUBLISHED: 09:51 02 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:18 03 July 2010

TWO more cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Norfolk, but health chiefs have warned there are likely to be many more.

The new cases bring the official number in the county to six, but health bosses warned the figures were unlikely to reflect the true picture.

TWO more cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Norfolk, but health chiefs have warned there are likely to be many more.

The new cases bring the official number in the county to six, but health bosses warned the figures were unlikely to reflect the true picture.

Dr John Battersby, NHS Norfolk's director of public health, said: “Two patients have been tested and confirmed as having the H1N1 swine flu virus. One patient is from the Broadland area; the second is from the South Norfolk area. Both are being treated at home with antiviral drugs and are both responding to treatment.”

One of the cases relates to travel to the US, but no further information was being released about either case.

Dr Battersby said people should now recognise that “confirmed” figures within county or primary care trust (PCT) areas were now unlikely to reflect the full picture on the actual number of swine flu cases in that area.

“Of course, many people may have the virus but have such mild symptoms they have not contacted a GP and therefore not been tested and diagnosed,” he said.

“But we have also seen a change in the manner in which testing of patients is being managed as numbers throughout the region, and the UK, have escalated. Many patients are now diagnosed clinically - ie, directly by their GP, based on their symptoms rather than a lab test.

“GPs do report clinically diagnosed cases but the data are recorded in less detail and, due to the volume of these cases across the UK, take longer to be entered on to the recording system.

“This often means that the 'official' figures at PCT level on cases which have been confirmed via lab testing are becoming more of an indication of numbers on any day. We always recognised that this situation would eventually occur as the incidence of swine flu became more widespread.

“We still have a relatively low number of officially confirmed cases within our area, but people should not be complacent or surprised if there appears to be a sudden increase in numbers.”

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