A woman has died in a Scottish hospital becoming the first person outside the Americas to have been killed by the Swine flu virus.
The patient was last night identified as a 38-year-old woman from Glasgow, who had prematurely given birth in recent days. She had been in intensive care at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Paisley, where a large number of those infected with the H1N1 virus have been treated. Health officials said earlier today that nearly 500 people in Scotland had been diagnosed with the virus, with a majority in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
The Scottish government released a statement shortly before 8pm tonight, stating: “With regret, we can confirm that one of the patients who had been in hospital and had been confirmed as suffering from the H1N1 virus, has died today. At the family’s request, to allow them time to come to terms with their loss, no further details will be released tonight.”
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health secretary, said: “I’d like to express my condolences to the patient’s family and friends,” she said. “This is a tragedy for those concerned and they have my heartfelt sympathy. Tragic though today’s death is, I would like to emphasise that the vast majority of those who have H1N1 are suffering from relatively mild symptoms.”
The number of cases in England has risen to 752 with 354 in the west Midland area, 61 new cases in the Birmingham area alone. It is estimated that 500 people in the greater Glasgow and Clyde area have suffered from the virus bringing the total
Sturgeon said: “We continue to see a rise in cases of H1N1 around the world, and Scotland is not isolated from that.
“Given the number of cases being confirmed in the West Midlands, there is an indication that the area is experiencing a level of spread similar to what we are seeing in Scotland.
“We remain one of the best prepared countries in the world and, as in every other country, the vast majority of people contracting the virus are experiencing relatively mild symptoms.”
Professor Hugh Pennington, a bacteriologist at Aberdeen University, said he was not surprised by recent events.
He said: “It’s very sad but with the number of cases we have seen it is really something which was always going to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately it is to be expected.”