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Spread of swine flu difficult to predict

Swine flu is similar to normal seasonal flu, and the fact a first case has been confirmed in the Isle of Man is absolutely no reason to panic.

That's the official line from the Public Health Directorate, after yesterday's significant developments, which also saw the World Health Organisation declare a level six alert, or worldwide pandemic.

The infected person in the Island, who had recently returned from one the 74 infected countries, is being treated with the drug Tamiflu, along with about five close contacts including family members.

The individual cannot be identified in any way, because of medical confidentiality.

Director of Public Health Dr Parameswaran Kishore says the rate of spread of swine flu is very difficult to predict, but if young children become infected it could have a significant effect (play audio file):

It's being stressed that the drug Tamiflu is very effective in the treatment of swine flu, providing it is administered within 48 hours of the onset of the disease.

For this reason it's important that anybody who suspects they might be infected should telephone their GP and describe their symptoms as soon as possible.

Nobody should go to their GPs surgery or a hospital.

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