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article imageSwine flu spreading more rapidly across UK than rest of Europe

By Michael Krebs     Jan 2, 2011 in Health
The H1N1 swine flu virus - responsible for 36 of the 39 flu deaths across the UK - is spreading more rapidly in Britain than elsewhere in Europe.
The United Kingdom has been experiencing a surge of infections from the H1N1 swine flu virus throughout December, and the fast-moving bug threatens to become an epidemic over the next two to four weeks - spreading through the UK at a rate that has not yet been seen in neighboring continental Europe, according to a report in The Telegraph.
Now considered part of the "seasonal" influenza ecology, the H1N1 swine flu virus has already been responsible for 36 of the 39 flu deaths reported in the UK this winter season. H1N1 strains have been included in this season's influenza vaccines, as the aggressive virus has dominated other seasonal flu varieties to become the established and more mainstream influenza occurrence.
The H1N1 virus struck the UK rapidly, hitting the nation with a fierceness that is now threatening intensive care facilities in hospitals across the country. The Daily Express reports that half of the UK's intensive care beds are currently being utilized for patients struck by the H1N1 flu.
“We have a large number of very sick people in intensive care at present. We are coping, but if there is a further upsurge we will need contingency measures,” Dr. Bob Winters, president of the Intensive Care Society, told the Daily Express.
In 2009, the H1N1 swine flu virus caused governments around the world to scramble in an effort to contain the pandemic - and while the strain has been considered "mild," it expresses a disturbing appetite for children and pregnant women.
In the UK, the government is facing criticism for its overall preparedness - and experts are trying to understand why the virus is moving quicker through British populations than elsewhere in Europe. The prevailing theory remains centered on the movement of people and their closed-space interactions in celebration of the holidays - however, the Christmas and New Year's holidays are also celebrated on the European continent.
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