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A cluster of swine flu cases at a private school in Wales have sparked fears that a national epidemic could be emerging.
The cases follow The Assembly Government urging people to have the seasonal flu jab after it was revealed that 10 people had died from swine flu in six weeks. All of those who died were under the age of 65. Figures show that only 34% of younger people in high-risk groups with regards to swine flu have had the vaccination.
The three pupils went to Cathedral School in Cardiff. Head teacher at the school Stephen Morris has urged any pupils and staff who develop flu-like illnesses to stay at home, according to Wales Online. More than 120 students have fallen ill at the school.
Dr Gwen Lowe, who is a consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health Wales, commented to Wales Online: “In order to prevent further spread of this illness parents should not send their children to school if symptomatic, and keep them away until recovered.”
Experts are recommending that people who are particularly vulnerable to swine flu – including pregnant women, the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions – should have the flu jab. People who have contracted swine flu can reduce their symptoms to a manageable level, and make themselves less of a threat to those around them, by taking the medication Tamiflu. During the peak of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, Tamiflu was distributed widely by the government as a swine flu prevention method.
In England it has been confirmed today that a third man had died from swine flu in the space of a week. All three deaths occurred in northern England.