I have found a useful site for those who get spooked by newspaper headlines. It is called Behind the Headlines and is published by the NHS.
The latest information about Swine Flu in the UK is as follows.
•There are 218 people in hospital with swine flu, 25 of whom are in critical condition.
•To date, 82 people with swine flu have died in the UK. There have been 70 deaths in England, nine in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland, and one in Wales.
•There have been outbreaks in schools in 8 out of 10 regions in England.
The number of new swine flu cases has almost doubled in the past week, with an estimated 9,000 new cases.
Sir Liam Donaldson said, “Everything suggests that we’re starting to see a second wave to follow on from the July peak. We don’t know how big that wave is going to be, but we’re reaching the starting line.”
Approval for a UK swine flu vaccine is expected shortly, it has been announced. The recommendation has been made by the European Medicines Agency after carrying out an extensive review. The final decision will be made by the European Commission and is expected soon. The vaccine, Pandemrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is one of two vaccines being produced for the UK. The other vaccine being produced by Baxter is still under review. The two together will provide enough vaccine for the entire UK population. The European Medicines Agency is currently recommending that the vaccine be delivered in two doses, three weeks apart. However, it has acknowledged that there is initial data suggesting that one dose may be sufficient in adults.
The vaccine will be given to at-risk groups in the following order:
•People aged between six months and 65 years in the clinically at-risk groups for seasonal flu.
•Pregnant women, subject to licensing by the European Medicines Agency, which will indicate whether it can be given throughout pregnancy or only at certain stages of pregnancy.
•Household contacts of people with compromised immune systems.
•People aged 65 and over in the current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups.
As well as articles on swine flu, in the past week it has dealt with news items about a new and successful HIV vaccine, the question of whether it is dangerous to go into hospital when the new doctors are appointed, the MMR/autism debate, genetic clues to prostate cancer, vitamin D and skin cancer, a new drug for melanoma, HRT and lung cancer risk, whether people in a persistent vegetative state can think, and how much life you lose from smoking and drinking.
Many of these subjects are of interest to CLL patients, so I advise everybody to take a look.