Swine flu could kill in Portugal

Portugal’s Director-General of Health, Francisco George, has warned that the country can no longer expect to suffer no deaths from the H1N1 flu virus.

He was initially reported as having said that it was “inevitable” people would die from the swine flu in Portugal but most news agencies later withdrew that statement.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Order of Medics, he said: “We are not going to continue to have a zero mortality rate,” He added that it was possible that hospital and other services could collapse when the flu struck with force over the winter months.

So far there have been 884 cases of confirmed H1N1 flu in Portugal, with that number expected to rise to 1,000 within days.

After praising the health authorities for succeeding in containing the virus – neighbouring Spain has a much higher incidence – Francisco George said that contingency plans would centre round families while adding that 95 per cent of cases of the flu were “of a clinically light nature” but warned that viruses mutated.