Mum left stunned after son contracts swine flu

A MOTHER has told of her shock after her young son's illness turned out to be swine flu, as experts warn the virus is set to make a comeback.

The return of the H1N1 bug, which gripped the world last year, is predicted as the temperature plummets.

Health chiefs say it is unlikely to emerge on the scale of last year when 11 Lothian residents died, the majority of whom were elderly or had underlying health problems.

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Vicci Simpson, 25, told the Evening News how she was stunned when her GP diagnosed her son, Cole, six, with the bug.

He is now nearing a full recovery after almost a month of being under the weather.

Ms Simpson, a senior bank worker from Broxburn, said: "At first he had diarrhoea, then he was complaining of a sore stomach and not sleeping well. His face had swollen up and he had headaches, too.

"At first the doctor said it was a urine infection and gave him a course of antibiotics, but when that didn't work I took him back and he was diagnosed with swine flu.

"I couldn't believe it. Of course I remembered all the hype from last year, but I didn't think it would be back."

Due to his age, the Uphall Primary pupil narrowly missed out on automatic vaccination at the height of the pandemic last year.

Fortunately, he has not passed it on to any of his fellow pupils as Health Protection Scotland (HPS) confirmed there has been no outbreak, a term used when more than two people are infected from the same source.

Ms Simpson added: "Because I didn't know what it was, he was going to school and to parties. It's a relief he hasn't passed it on.

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"In some ways I'm glad I didn't know it was swine flu when his face was swollen up. It would have just made me worry more, especially when you hear the horror stories from last year. He's on the mend now, though."

Cole was not able to receive any treatment for the H1N1 virus because he had received antibiotics for the suspected urine infection and instead had to "sweat it out".

HPS this week said 11 people across Scotland have been diagnosed with the illness in the last month and it expects that number to rise. While experts were keen to emphasise the importance of precautions against H1N1, they warned seasonal influenza still poses a greater risk.

An HPS spokesman said: "Since the World Health Organisation declared the pandemic over in August, many of the actions which were pandemic specific are no longer required. However, the H1N1 virus is still expected to circulate in the 2010-11 flu season."


THE advice on swine flu from the NHS hasn't changed from last year.

Doctors say if a person suspects they or their child has the H1N1 infection, the best thing to do is to remain at home and contact a GP.

That prevents the risk of spreading the bug, while a medical professional will be able to tell from the description of symptoms if a diagnosis of swine flu is likely.

Those in the at-risk groups, and the over 65s, are strongly urged to receive the seasonal influenza jab, as that strain carries a greater risk than the H1N1 version.