Ten people are being admitted to hospital with swine flu on a daily basis, according to new figures from the health ministry.
One in 10 patients is taken in to intensive care, the ministry told news agency Novum on Wednesday. The Netherlands has officially been in the middle of a ‘light’ swine flu epidemic since Friday.
Last week a 14-year-old girl became the first apparently healthy person in the Netherlands to die from the H1N1 virus, bringing the death toll to six. A 16-year-old girl who died suddenly on Monday was found not to have the virus, officials say.
Pressure is now mounting on the health ministry to make vaccinating young children a priority when the vaccination programme begins next month. At the moment, the elderly, pregnant women and health service workers are first on the list.
Epidemiologist Jim van Steenbergen says in Wednesday’s AD it is a ‘question of time’ until babies and toddlers die. ‘Little ones get into trouble because they are still so fragile,’ he was quoted as saying.
The national health institute RIVM says a relatively large number of the hospital and intensive care patients are young children. Deaths among this age group are ‘almost unavoidable,’ a spokesman told the Telegraaf.
Virologist Ab Osterhaus said parents should notify their doctor as soon as children show signs of being short of breath.
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