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Swine 'flu update

Health news stories are being dominated by the rapidly evolving global situation with swine 'flu.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to phase 5 on Wednesday. This phase follows confirmation of human to human transmission of the virus in at least two countries and is considered to be a sign that a pandemic is likely to be imminent. Phase 6 would confirm a global pandemic.

The Health Protection Agency has confirmed 8 cases of the infection in the UK with 230 laboratory investigations under way.

According to the WHO, in total 11 countries have reported 331 confirmed cases of infection with 10 proving fatal. Some information is now suggesting that the infection is mild.

WHO have also clarified that there is "no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products".

Action: Clinicians should be aware of current advice and the current pandemic alert level.