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Swine flu cases in Britain doubled to 100,000, in one week of July. The disease has had such a significant impact on the country that within minutes of opening, the National Pandemic Flu service website appeared to have crashed. This included the new phone line for those suffering symptoms, which is capable of handling 1 million calls per week.
According to the Department of Health, the website received an unprecedented 9.3 million hits per hour.
The chief executive of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Justin McCracken, said that the number of doctor consultations for the flu is at epidemic levels. The HPA estimates that new cases are somewhere between 60,000 and 140,000.
According to statistics, the areas of the country experiencing the highest increases in rates of infection include North Tyneside at 745 percent, Blackburn with Darwen at 568 percent and Stockport at 553 percent. The east London borough of Tower-Hamlets continues to have the highest number of doctor consultations, followed by the north London borough of Islington.
Other hard hit areas include Greenwich, Leicester, and Telford.
Health officials said that of deaths resulting from the virus, one third have been children under 15 and 16 percent have been people previously thought to be healthy.
Medical experts indicate that there are some signs that the disease may be slowing, but it is still too early to conclude it is a trend. While the number of new cases doubled, the number of people admitted to the hospital increased by only 28 percent. While chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said this might be a “little bit of possible good news,” it means that the disease has not gotten any worse (Telegraph).
British officials encourage those with symptoms to contact the national flu service or log on to their website.