Second UK swine fever death as baby dies after pregnant mum

The partner of the first person in the UK to die of swine flu suffered a second loss last night when his premature son died in hospital.

William McCann said Jack, aged 14 days, died after a “brave fight” at the special-care baby unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

His partner, Jacqueline Fleming, 38, died at the same hospital on Sunday. Last night Mr McCann said: “Coming so soon after the death of his mum, this is an extremely distressing and difficult time for our family.”

Jack was born 11 weeks early, reportedly weighing just over 3lbs, and suffered complications. He did not have swine flu. His mother, who was being treated in intensive care, was described as having underlying health conditions.

Earlier her relatives said in a statement from the health board: “Our whole family is absolutely devastated and we are doing everything we can to support Jacqueline’s two sons and her partner. Jacqueline had been ill in hospital for a number of weeks but nothing can prepare you for such shattering news.”

Ms Fleming was the first reported swine flu fatality outside the Americas. Details of her other health problems have not been given officially. A neighbour in the Carnwadric area of southwest Glasgow said that she had had strokes or seizures. It was reported she had suffered a stroke two years ago and was admitted to hospital with double pneumonia four weeks ago.

A nurse aged 26 who treated her has also tested positive for swine flu but is said not to be seriously ill. Ms Fleming is understood to have been infected before going to hospital and it is believed that she may have contracted the disease locally.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Health Secretary, said that in any flu outbreak a small number of victims would develop complications, and some would die. “That said, the vast majority of people will continue to suffer mild symptoms,” she added.

Harry Burns, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, said that three distinct clusters of cases had been identified in Scotland — one linked to a Rangers supporters’ bus, one involving contact with people in the West Midlands and the last centred in south Glasgow.

There have been 498 Scottish cases of swine flu. Scotland’s government said yesterday that no more cases had been confirmed by laboratory tests but doctors in Greater Glasgow and Clyde had diagnosed a further 71.

Mr Burns said that the H1N1 strain was unlike common flu in that it appeared to be more prevalent among young people. This could be because those who had lived through a pandemic of Asian flu in 1958-59 had a resistance to it. Those who had survived Hong Kong flu in the Sixties might also have some immunity.


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