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Swine flu screening at UK airports amid fear that NHS could be overwhelmed

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David Rose
London Times
Saturday, July 25, 2009

NHS intensive care services could be overwhelmed by a huge rise in swine flu cases, researchers have warned, as Britain’s port authorities started screening incoming passengers for the first time.

Demand for critical care beds could outstrip the numbers available by 130 per cent, especially in units designed to treat children, according to a study in the journal Anaesthesia.

The warning came as 160 British citizens were held in quarantine in China, Singapore, India and Egypt because of swine flu fears. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that there were likely to be others being held over suspicions that they had the H1N1 virus.

It also emerged that:

• health workers and immigration officials at Heathrow and other port authorities have been told to look out for passengers with possible signs of swine flu infection;

• Sharon Pentleton, a 26-year-old pregnant woman from Scotland, was “gravely ill” after suffering a rare and severe infection. She was flown to Sweden for emergency treatment;

• Sainsbury’s opted out of distributing antiviral medication as part of the national service over fears that it might encourage swine flu victims into its stores.

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This article was posted: Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 3:47 am

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