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November 21, 2009

Expert warning over new swine flu

Tamiflu-resistant swine flu which has broken out in Wales will become much more common as the virus mutates, a flu expert said. Skip related content
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Expert warning over new swine flu .Three out of five patients diagnosed with the Tamiflu-resistant strain remain in hospital, after it was revealed they could be the world's first cases of person-to-person transmission of the virus, the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS) said.

Professor Nigel Dimmock, a virologist at the University of Warwick said: "This is just the beginning. You have got a lot of viruses and if you use Tamiflu at the level they are using it you get resistance.

"However, they probably aren't resistant to Relenza, the other antiviral. You need other mutations to make it resistant to Relenza.

"Also, the vaccine is coming on so people regard Tamiflu as a stop gap and there's no need to panic."

He added it was unsurprising person-to-person transmissions had started. He said: "This is the trouble with going into hospitals, where you can get MRSA, C.diff, Norovirus and so on. You go in with something and you come out with a virus, it's a well known problem."

Three of the five people on a unit for severe underlying health conditions at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, appear to have acquired the infection on the ward, the NPHS said.

Two of the five have recovered and have been discharged from hospital, one is in critical care and two are being treated on the ward.

Professor Dimmock said the likelihood of the cases in Cardiff causing an outbreak of the resistant strain depend on how well the virus has been contained.

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