Two further patients under investigation in England have today been confirmed with swine flu, bringing the current total number of confirmed UK cases to 18.
Cases currently under laboratory investigation as at 17:00 02 May 2009 716
Both cases in England are of school age, from the London region. The first case is a close contact of a person who had recently returned from Mexico. The second case had recently returned from the United States, where there is evidence of sustained human to human transmission.
In the first case – linked to a returned traveller from Mexico – school contacts (the same year group) are already receiving antivirals as a precautionary measure. According to guidance from the Health Protection Agency, the school has also been advised to close temporarily as a precautionary measure, initially for a period of seven days.
In the second case – the patient who had recently returned from the US – a thorough risk assessment has established no wider public health action is deemed to be required. No school closure is necessary as the patient did not attend school while symptomatic.
The Health Protection Agency is working to ensure that any close contacts of all patients who test positive for swine flu are offered antivirals as a precautionary measure. Close contacts are defined as those individuals who have been exposed to a probable or confirmed case within the previous seven days for longer than one hour and within a distance of one metre or less.
At this stage, with only a small number of cases of human to human transmission in the UK, this does not yet represent sustained human to human transmission. The cases of human to human transmission in the UK all had contact with individuals with illness and travel history to an affected area. The risk to the general public remains very low.