Swine flu-related death in Wales

A woman who tested positive for swine flu has died in Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government confirmed.

The 55-year-old woman from Caerphilly County Borough was admitted to the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport on 2 August. She had been ill with flu-like symptoms prior to her admission. She tested positive for swine flu on admission and received a course of antivirals.

She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff on 6 August with cardiac-related problems. She sadly died on Saturday, 15 August following further circulatory complications.

This is the first swine flu-related death in Wales.

At the family’s request, no further details will be released. The family have requested that their privacy is respected and that the media leave them to grieve in peace.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said:

“This is the first swine flu-related death in Wales and I would like to send my condolences to the family and friends of the woman at this difficult time.

“Tragic though this is for the family and friends, we are not seeing an increase in rates of cases, compared to normal seasonal flu, where we see a number of serious cases and deaths each year.”

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, added:

“I understand that the first death of someone with swine flu in Wales will naturally worry people and cause concern, however I would assure people that for the vast majority of healthy people, the infection remains mild and people recover within five to seven days with rest, plenty of fluids and symptomatic treatments.”

There have been more than 50 swine flu-related deaths in the UK since this flu pandemic arose in April.

People with underlying health conditions, especially heart and lung diseases, are at most risk. Even in the at risk groups – those with chronic conditions, pregnant women and children under 5 – most people get over the infection with no major concerns.

If people are concerned, or if they are in these at risk groups, they should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for advice and support. Antivirals have the most impact within 48 hours of the onset of flu-like symptoms.

It’s important that people remember good hand and respiratory hygeine in an effort to reduce the risk of spread of swine flu – coughs and sneezes spread diseases so catch it, kill it and bin it.

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