Nine people are thought to have become victims of the swine flu illness, after a marketing manager from Liverpool City Council died on New Year's Eve.
David Hanson, 59, fell ill during his birthday celebrations on December 16 and was thought to be suffering from a bad cold or a chest infection.
His health deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital on December 23 in a critical condition, where he died a week later surrounded by his family.
His wife, Carol, has said her husband was a healthy, non-smoker who did pilaties to ease back problems and enjoyed walking.
Mr Hanson was not considered to be in the "at risk" group and had
not had the flu jab. Children, elderly people, pregnant women and
people with health problems are advised to get the vaccination.
A 17-year-old girl from the Wirral is among those who has been
taken by suspected swine flu. Olivia Rae Clee-Barnett died in the
early hours of Sunday January 2nd.
Olivia was a pupil at Wallasey School sixth form, where headteacher
Phil Duffy paid tribute to a “popular and positive member of our
He said: “We are devastated by the news about Olivia. She was very
friendly and a very able student.” Staff and students at the school will
be offered bereavement counselling and Mr Duffy added: “Our hearts
go out to Olivia’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Olivia was a keen music and drama student and was part of a theatre
production of Grease, which brought the school national TV stardom in 2009.
The pupils beat 500 other competing schools to win a Sky TV competition ‘Grease: The School Musical’, to perform their version of the classic film and stage play at the Novello Theatre in London’s West End.
More than 3,000 people have joined a Facebook page paying tribute to the teenager. Tracey Carmichael posted a message from Olivia’s mum saying: “No-one is to wear black for her funeral.”
Andrew Richard Fisher posted: “It’s a terrible tragedy.”
Arrowe Park Hospital, Upton, Wirral, is so far the only hospital on Merseyside taking steps to stop the spread of the disease. Health executives ordered the closure of two clinics and a third to be reduced in numbers last Friday, but they are now running normally.
The visiting restrictions have been relaxed but patients are only allowed one visitor at each visiting time and children are not allowed. Parents have been told they can visit the children’s ward.
Swine flu emerged in Mexico in spring 2009 and has spread across the world, leading to the first flu pandemic for 40 years.
Parents are being warned that a surge in swine flu cases may be spurred on when children return to school after the Christmas holidays, as younger people have less resistance to the H1N1 strain. There are currently 42 under-five-year-olds in intensive care in England suffering from the illness.
Dr Douglas Fleming, director of the Royal College of General Practitioners' Research and Surveillance Centre, said: "This is a H1 virus and we know that it spreads rapidly among children. I personally don't feel that we have quite reached the peak."
Cases of swine flu have risen sharply by nearly 300, to 738, since Christmas Eve. At least 39 people are thought to have died from the illness nationwide since October.
Liverpool John Moores University has issued guidance to students regarding swine flu and assessments that are due this month.
By Chris Bradley, Chief Reporter
More JMU Journalism stories
Olivia Rae Clee-Barnett died on January 2nd; the Wirral's Arrowe Park Hospital restricted visiting hours
Olivia Rae Clee-Barnett