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Increase in flu cases in Leicester area this month

There has been an increase in the number of flu cases in February in the Leicester area according to the lead nurse for infection prevention at Leicester's hospitals.

Three wards at Leicester Royal Infirmary have been closed after a swine flu outbreak affected 14 cancer patients.

We have seen an increase in the number of flu cases in February, in both the community and across our hospital sites.

Fourteen patients on three haematology wards at the Leicester Royal Infirmary have developed symptoms that have been confirmed as flu.

All necessary precautions were taken and these patients have been isolated to avoid an outbreak.

– Liz Collins, lead nurse for infection prevention at Leicester's hospitals

Visitors with flu-like symptoms have been asked to stay away from hospitals to avoid passing their infections to patients.

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Swine flu outbreak shuts hospital wards

Three wards have been closed at a hospital after a major swine flu outbreak affected 14 cancer patients.

Leicester Royal Infirmary is trying to contain the spread of the virus, which was responsible for the flu pandemic in 2009/10.

The H1N1 swine flu strain is one of the dominant flu strains this winter and the current winter flu jab offers protection against it.

Glenfield Hospital in the city is also treating three seriously ill patients with swine flu, who are receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment.

They were brought to Leicester from other parts of the country.

All 14 patients remain in isolation either in side rooms or on bays, a statement from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said.

All patients are currently being treated with antiviral medication.

Staff are following protocols for preventing the spread of infection, including wearing masks, gowns and gloves and washing hands regularly.

On Monday, it was thought three people on the wards might have flu, and because these patients have very little immunity, it was decided to swab all patients and 14 were confirmed as positive.

– Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable disease control with Public Health England in the East Midlands

Govt: Swine flu jab use 'based on available evidence'

The Department of Health said the decision to use a swine flu vaccine that has been found to increase the risk of developing narcolepsy was based on advice from the European Medicines Agency:

Pandemrix was developed specifically for use in a flu pandemic when the number of lives lost and serious cases could have been enormous.

The decision to recommend that children got this vaccine during the flu pandemic was based on evidence available at the time, along with the advice from the European Medicines Agency which approved its use.

We keep all emerging evidence under review and that's why use of Pandemrix in those less than 20 years old was stopped in the UK in 2011.

– Department of Health spokesperson
  1. West Country

Mother threatening to sue after swine flu jab

Caroline Hadfield believes her son developed narcolepsy after having the swine flu jab. Credit: Fred Lancelot/ABACAPRESS.COM

A mother from Somerset is threatening to sue the government after new figures show a link between the swine flu jab and Narcolepsy.

Caroline Hadfield says her son Josh, 4, developed the condition within three months of the injection. She says he was a perfectly healthy and energetic child before the vaccination but now sleeps for 19 hours a day.

Swine flu vaccine has not been used for two years

Research, published in the British Medical Journal, has found a link between children who were given the swine flu jab and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

  • Seventy five children aged between four and 18, who were diagnosed with narcolepsy from January 2008 and attended sleep centres across England, were examined
  • Researchers found 11 of these received the vaccine before their symptoms began

The use of the vaccine in people under the age of 20 has been restricted across Europe since 2011, following reports of increased cases of the sleep disorder.

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Swine flu findings 'consistent' with European studies

Professor Liz Miller, a consultant epidemiologist with the Health Protection Agency, said that findings which have linked the swine flu vaccine to an increased risk of narcolepsy, are consistent with those from European studies.

She added that further studies would be needed to assess the risk of other vaccines used during the swine flu pandemic.

This risk may be overestimated by more rapid referral of vaccinated cases. Long term follow up of people exposed to Pandemrix is needed before we can fully establish the extent of the association.

Our findings have implications for the future licensing and use of adjuvanted pandemic vaccines. Further studies to assess the possible risk associated with other vaccines used in the pandemic, including those with and without adjuvants, are also needed to inform the use of such vaccines in the event of a future pandemic.

Increased risk of narcolepsy from swine flu jab

Research has found that a swine flu jab given to children carried an increased risk of developing narcolepsy.

Experts said the vaccine Pandemrix increased the child's risk of the disorder, which causes excessive daytime sleepiness.

Pandemrix, used in the swine flu vaccine Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The research suggests that for every 55,000 doses delivered, around one child developed the condition.

More than 850,000 English children aged six months to 16 years were given the vaccine at the height of the pandemic.