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Statement from Health Minister following death of teenager with confirmed swine flu

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey has expressed his deepest sympathy to the family of a teenage girl who has died this week in the Western Trust area.

The Minister said: "I am saddened to hear of this further death and my thoughts are with the family at this very sad time for them. We should all now respect the privacy of this family and allow them to grieve in peace.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride said: "Any parents who have concerns that their child may have symptoms of swine flu should immediately contact their GP or out-of-hours service for advice and assessment.

"For parents of children who may have been in contact with this child, I would like to assure them that if their child has no symptoms of swine flu and is otherwise healthy there is no need for antiviral treatment.

"If you think you have swine flu stay at home, please do not visit your GP practice, pharmacy or A&E in person. People with underlying health conditions who are at higher risk of complications if they develop influenza should call their GP for advice and assessment for antivirals. This includes people with long-term conditions such as diabetes or chronic lung disease. In addition, pregnant women who develop flu-like symptoms should phone their GP promptly. Likewise, parents of children under five years should call their doctor if their child develops flu-like symptoms.

"For the vast majority of people, swine flu remains a mild illness, however, some people will require hospital care and in some cases admission to intensive care. All of us in the health service have been planning and preparing to deal with any increased pressure on our services."

Notes to editors:

1. Press enquiries to the DHSSPS Press Office on 02890520575. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.