Swine flu claims first staff fatality

10th July 2009 at 01:00
In wake of death at Islamic college, health authorities confirm victim had contracted virus

The swine flu pandemic is understood to have claimed its first victim from the teaching community.

Abdullah Patel, who died on Sunday, was a member of staff at the Institute of Islamic Education, a private boarding school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Dr Judith Hooper, director of public health for NHS Kirklees, said: "Following the death of a man from Dewsbury, tests have shown that a contributory cause of death was swine flu.

She added: "The individual also had serious underlying health issues."

A nine-year-old girl from the same town, Asmaa Hussain, also died last week after contracting swine flu. She, too, is reported to have had underlying health problems.

The Institute of Islamic Education caters for Muslim students aged 12 to 19 and provides training for them to become Imams.

At least three students at the private school have been diagnosed with the virus and it has been closed since July 2.

The secondary school and college is in the grounds of a mosque. No-one at the school or mosque were available for comment.

On Monday, a nine-year-old girl from south London was confirmed as the fifth swine flu fatality in the UK.

The vast majority of cases of swine flu have been mild, but the spread of the virus has now become impossible to contain, health officials have said, with hundreds of new cases reported every day.

Andy Burnham, health secretary, said last week that cases could peak at 100,000 a day in August.

With the shift from the "containment" to "treatment" phase of the epidemic, the Health Protection Agency has moved to giving out general estimates of numbers.

Diagnosis will now be by symptoms rather than by sending swabs to be tested, although some testing will still be carried out.

Schools will not need to close when hit by the virus unless particular circumstances make it necessary.

Symptoms of swine flu include fever and flu-like symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, limb or joint aches and pains, and headaches. Some sufferers have also reported vomiting and diarrhoea.

The most recent Ofsted report on the Institute of Islamic Education dates from 2008, when there were 293 students on roll.

It said the religious curriculum, which took up 60 per cent of the school's curricular provision, remained good and the secular curriculum was satisfactory.

It added that the school had made good overall progress since the previous inspection and that while students had too few out-of-school opportunities, they had learnt about other faiths and cultures.


- April 24, 2009

The Health Protection Agency says it is monitoring a deadly swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the US.

- April 26

The first cases of swine flu in the UK are confirmed.

- April 29

Paignton Community and Sports College is the first school in England to be closed by the virus.

- May 21

Welford Primary School in Handsworth, Birmingham, shuts after the biggest confirmed outbreak of swine flu: 45 children and five adults have the disease.

- May 28

Eton College shuts due to an outbreak of the virus.

- June 11

The World Health Organisation announces that the swine flu outbreak is now a pandemic because of its global spread.

- June 14

Jacqui Fleming, 38, of Glasgow, becomes the first virus fatality in the UK although she is said to have had underlying health conditions.

- July 2

Health secretary Andy Burnham (right) says: "Cases are doubling every week and on this trend we could see over 100,000 cases per day by the end of August." Schools no longer have to close if they have a confirmed case.

- July 6

Four more people have now died from the disease: a six-year-old girl in Birmingham, a 73-year-old man in Scotland, and a man aged 19 and a nine-year-old child in London. All are said to have had previous underlying health conditions.

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