Youngsters feeling brunt of swine flu crisis


By Paul Thornton

MORE than 60 per cent of swine flu cases in Scotland affect those aged just 24-years-old and under, it was revealed yesterday.

Health Protection Scotland statistics show that 10 per cent of cases are in the under-four year old age bracket, while almost a third are between the age of five and 14.

A further 21 per cent of total cases are found in the 15 to 24 group.

The new figures were announced as the third death in Britain was revealed to be a nine-year-old girl at a Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, and just two days after a 73-year-old man died in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

Young people with strong immune systems appear to react most to the virus, but the strength of their reaction in turn can produce inflammation and secretions in the lungs.

Those who have died were reported to have had “underlying” health issues.

The number of confirmed cases of swine flu smashed the 1,000 barrier for the first time yesterday to stand at 1118 – including two reported deaths in Scotland.


Despite this Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon insisted most cases were still likely to be “mild”.

Miss Sturgeon said: “The medical evidence and patterns seen in the early stages offer some reassurance that in the majority of cases symptoms are mild with recovery for people in otherwise good health generally straightforward.

“While the two deaths to date in Scotland from H1N1 have been regrettable and tragic for the families involved, underlying medical conditions were a factor in both situations.”

However Miss Sturgeon did admit that the spread of swine flu was likely to see health officials battling the disease itself rather than the spread in the coming weeks.

She said: “Although the coming weeks and months are likely to see the focus shift to treatment of H1N1, prevention remains a key priority.”

“We can all play a part in that by helping limit the spread through simple hygiene procedures such as regular hand washing and the single use and proper disposal of tissues when sneezing or coughing.”