AT LEAST five cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Hyndburn.
The Health Protection Agency has confirmed that all of those suffering from the illness are now at home and recovering well – with their symptoms described as ‘non-serious.’
Four cases have been linked with Hyndburn Park Primary School, Accrington, where 11-year-old schoolboy, Qaasim Pervaiz, the first person in East Lancashire to be diagnosed, is a pupil.
His school remains open after health experts said there was no need to treat classmates with anti-viral medication.
A member of staff at Accrington and Rossendale College is also off work after coming into contact with a confirmed case of swine flu. As a precaution their GP recommended they stay off work.
This week the Government announced the UK was changing its management of the illness.
Everyone who has flu-like symptoms will be assessed by a doctor and may be given antivirals to manage their illness.
Routine swabbing of suspected cases will now stop, and the Health Protection Agency will no longer trace close contacts and provide antivirals to limit the spread within the community.
Residents in Hyndburn are also being urged to find themselves a ‘flu friend’ to help them in case the illness strikes, as local health chiefs believe that more cases could occur.
They want people to maintain basic hygiene through regular hand washing, and to use the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ approach to coughs and sneezes.
Dr Ellis Friedman, director of public health at NHS East Lancashire, said: "Our first confirmed case is recovering very well.
"In fact, I understand he is fine now and is more concerned about people over-reacting to his experience, which he has been keen to play down and treat as a normal case of summer flu. So far we have had a small number of cases in East Lancashire but I am sure we will have more.
"It would be sensible for members of the public to start thinking about how they would look after themselves – and others in the community who may need help if they get swine flu.
"Everyone needs to choose at least one ‘flu friend’. This is someone who could help by collecting medication and food supplies."
Anyone who suspects they have the virus should contact NHS Direct 0845 46 47 or the Swine Flu information line on 0800 1 513 513.
- a sudden fever
- a sudden cough
- aching muscles
- limb or joint pain
- stomach upset
- sore throat
- runny nose
- loss of appetite