April 29, 2009 / 8:53 AM / 11 years ago

Every home to get swine flu leaflet

LONDON (Reuters) - Leaflets giving advice about the new H1N1 swine flu virus are to be sent to every home in the country, the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

Holiday maker Max Summerskill talks on his mobile phone after his holiday flight to the Mexican resort of Cancun was cancelled at Manchester Airport in Manchester, April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The leaflets will contain information about the flu outbreak and advice on preventing its spread.

In Scotland, medical officials are waiting for the results of flu tests on 23 people.

The health department said it was “urgently” investigating how to increase its stockpile of face masks for healthcare workers who would come into contact with infected patients if the outbreak became widespread.

But it said it was not advising the general public to wear masks.

“Although we are aware that face masks are being given out to the public in Mexico, the available scientific evidence does not support the general wearing of face masks by those who are not ill whilst going about their normal activities,” a health department spokesman said.

Two people in Britain have tested positive for the infection, a honeymooning Scottish couple who recently returned from Mexico, the epicentre of what has become a global flu alert.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that nine of the 23 people awaiting the results of tests had been in contact with the couple, who are said to be recovering well.

The remaining 14 people waiting for results have travel links to Mexico and the United States.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said Britain is among the best prepared countries in the world to deal with the outbreak.

In Mexico, the only country to have suffered swine flu deaths, the government puts the toll at more than 150 and says 1,300 people are in hospital, some of them seriously ill.

The World Health Organisation says 26 cases of swine flu had been confirmed in Mexico and that seven of those had died.

The WHO said the current outbreak could lead to only a mild pandemic but warned that the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed tens of millions, started that way.

Reporting by Tim Castle; Editing by Steve Addison

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