Swine flu outbreak at prison

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INMATES are being treated in quarantine as Hindley Prison suffers a swine flu outbreak.

Three young men have been confirmed to have the potentially deadly H1N1 virus, and another two are suspected of going down with the same infection, but are still awaiting test results.

None is said to be in any danger, but they are all being kept in isolation in the young offenders’ institution’s medical bay. Staff are also undergoing an immunisation programme to prevent further spread of infection.

The local primary care trust’s consultant in public health, Dr Paul Turner, described the Hindley outbreak as a “minor issue”, but said that efforts were also being made to keep a lid on infection spread in the wider community.

Generally, Wigan has fared well so far. Dr Turner said that, while quite a lot of people have gone down with either mild doses of flu, or viruses that can knock you back for a couple of weeks but are ultimately not serious, there have been few swine flu cases even suspected.

He said that there is currently no-one in Wigan Infirmary intensive care with H1N1. There is one person who is a known positive, who is expected to be discharged shortly, and three others who are suspected of having the illness, but are still awaiting results.

But Dr Turner said: “There has been a small outbreak at Hindley Prison, with three confirmed and two suspected cases. The patients have been isolated to avoid the risk of spreading the infection.

“It is not a major issue, none of the patients is seriously ill, and staff are being immunised as a precaution.”

Nationally, there have been 17 deaths from swine flu.