Swine flu cases rise in schools

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New figures show that rising numbers of swine flu cases are being reported at schools after pupils returned to the classroom following the summer break.

Hand gels are being introduced at schools in the West Midlands, after it was revealed that at least 66 schools across the country had suffered swine flu outbreaks since the start of the school term earlier this month.

Health bosses expect are expecting a second wave of swine flu, and said that the number of cases across the country had almost doubled in a week, from an estimated 5,000 to 9,000.

But they admitted data from schools was not systematically collected and that the expected number affected was higher.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said while the number of cases was still relatively low, the signs showed a second wave of swine flu could be on its way.

Meanwhile, a swine flu vaccine to be used in the UK has been approved by European regulators.

The European Medicines Agency has recommended to the European Commission that Pandemrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), be granted a licence for use across Europe, including the UK. however, a spokesman for the Department of Health said that GSK has not yet delivered stocks of its vaccine to the Government.

Another vaccine intended for use in the UK, made by Baxter, is still being considered by the European Medicines Agency.