Thirteen battle swine flu in Havering

THIRTEEN people are currently battling swine flu at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, as the cases of the illness surge across the country.

The local figure is “in line” with what other hospitals in London are experiencing, according to a spokesman for Queen’s.

A further eight people are waiting for results of tests to determine whether they too have the illness.

The spokesman added: “We would remind people who have flu-like symptoms not to come into A&E and risk spreading the virus. Instead, they should follow national guidance and call NHS Direct if they need further information.”

Meanwhile doctors in Havering are urging those who are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, long-term conditions or are elderly to get the flu jab.

These groups of people are deemed to be at an increased risk of serious complications if they contract the virus.

The flu jab protects against the three most prevalent strains of flu, including the swine flu virus H1N1.

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Cases of flu that require hospitalisation have continued to rise across the country.

So far this flu season, 27 people have died and 460 patients have been receiving intensive treatment in Britain.

Dr Atul Aggarwal, local GP and chair of the NHS Havering Professional Executive Committee, said: “I encourage those in the at-risk groups to speak to their GP and have the flu jab.

“Those who are at risk are more likely to develop complications as a result of the flu and taking this precaution will help them avoid becoming ill with it.”

Flu cases tend to rise around Christmas as people move around the country visiting friends and family, spreading infections.

A spokesman for NHS Havering said: “Taking precautions by catching sneezes in a handkerchief, binning the tissue as soon as you can, and killing the virus by washing your hands straight afterwards, or by using an alcohol gel, will help to limit the spread of flu.”

Those who have suspected flu are advised to either call their GP or NHS Direct on: 0845 4647.