Celebrity swine watch

The first UK swine flu death in a person without underlying health problems was reported on Friday. According to today’s Daily Mail, the man was “admitted to Basildon Hospital in Essex on July 1 and was placed in isolation in the intensive care unit.” The death has been referred for a post-mortem. In the United States, the government is encouraging the public to help in the fight against swine flu.

We ask the American people to become actively engaged with their own preparation and prevention. It’s a responsibility we all share,”

said Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

They are offering $2500 for the person who can come up with the best public service announcement that will help educate Americans about how to prevent the spread of H1N1 influenza.

Meanwhile, the London Paper has reported that the UK government’s worst case scenario predictions in the event of half the population becoming infected would see a death rate of 2.5%.  They tell us that “swine flu could kill nearly 95,000 people in the capital”. Apparently London boroughs with more people living in them will see more deaths and smaller boroughs will see fewer deaths. They’ve even created a map so you can see how many people might die in your borough.

Fast track vaccine

The vaccination program in the US is set to begin in October. In the UK, the vaccine may be ready by September. The BMA’s lead negotiator on swine flu, Peter Holden, has been taking about the need to start vaccinating as soon as possible.

The high-risk groups will be done at GPs’ surgeries. People are still making decisions over this, but we want to get cracking before we get a second wave, which is traditionally far more virulent,

The new vaccine will be fast tracked in as few as five days according to the Times.

The European Medicines Agency said the fast-tracked approval procedure has involved trials of a “mock-up”” vaccine and that the speed would not compromise patient safety:

“The vaccines are authorised with a detailed risk management plan,”

the agency said.

Celebrity Swine-watch

Booking yourself into rehab is so passé. These days there’s only one health problem that’s worth having.

Manchester City football player Micah Richards has given a moving account of the emotional turmoil he has been through during his bout of swine flu.

At first I thought it was a really bad chest infection, or maybe alcohol poisoning. I felt so weak I couldn’t move or eat. When I was told I had swine flu all sorts of things started going through my mind. You see on the news people dying of it.

Meanwhile Harry Potter star Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) has his own horror story.

I didn’t find out until quite late that it was swine flu. I didn’t even notice it was anything different. It was just a pretty ordinary kind of flu. It was nothing really.

ITN News, pushing the boundaries of what can be considered quote-worthy to new limits, continued:

Emma Watson, who shares an on-screen kiss with the Grint in the movie, said she had not come down with the virus but said the news had been “a bit scary”.

Tom Nolan is the clinical community editor of doc2doc, the BMJ’s professional networking community.