Number of Swine Flu Cases Increase

Businesses across Northern Ireland are being urged to step up planning for how to stay open in the event of an escalation in swine flu.

Up to 50% of the workforce may require time off at some stage over the pandemic, with staff absent for seven to 10 working days, according to the Department of Health's contingency plans.

"Absenteeism should follow the pandemic profile with an expectation that it will build to a peak lasting for two to three weeks when between 15% and 20% of staff may be absent and then decline," it said., BBC News reports.

Meanwhile, Andrew RT Davies said the helpline would take the pressure off services.

But the assembly government says GPs and NHS Direct are coping with the increasing number of swine flu cases.

Latest statistics suggest the number of cases in Wales have quadrupled over the past week, with an estimated 2,000 people now suffering flu-like symptoms, BBC News reports.

A pregnant Florida woman who got swine flu , lost her baby, and now fights for her life has drawn media attention to the fact that pandemic flu isn't just "moderately severe" for everybody.

Aubrey Opdyke, who came down with swine flu while pregnant, was placed in a medically induced coma on June 3. Doctors last week tried to deliver her baby prematurely, but the infant did not survive. Opdyke remains in intensive care, WebMD reports.