After a seventh flu death at Orchar Nursing Home, expert says worst may be over

Professor Hugh Pennington said: ''Let us hope that no more people will lose their lives through this outbreak although you can never be certain.

''I do suspect that we are nearer to the end of this situation than to the beginning of it, and I think the worst of this crisis may be over.''

He was commenting on a bulletin from NHS Tayside which confirmed that a seventh person had died after contracting the influenza A virus at the Beach Crescent establishment.

A further 21 residents have been affected with the potentially fatal strain of flu, and the remaining 12 residents have so far remained infection-free.

NHS Tayside said none of the residents affected is in hospital and all are being cared for at the home with intensive support from GPs and primary care.

''All appropriate infection control measures have been put in place in the care home and there is no increased risk to the wider public,'' the NHS Tayside spokeswoman added.

''Where appropriate, residents have been offered anti-virals, which can reduce the severity and infectiousness of influenza in those affected.''

She said relatives who are visiting sick residents are also being asked to take extra infection control precautions.

Best option

NHS Tayside consultant in public health medicine Dr Finn Romanes said keeping the remaining 21 flu sufferers and 12 non-sufferers in Orchar Nursing Home was the best option in the circumstances.

He said: ''Only those people who are assessed as requiring hospital care should be admitted to hospital as the transfer itself to another care environment can be very disorientating and sometimes very distressing for a person.

''It is important that patients with influenza should not be sent to hospital when this is not assessed as being necessary as this may introduce influenza into the sensitive hospital environment.

''Similarly, residents who are unwell but not requiring hospital care should not generally be transferred to another care home, and neither should well residents, because of the risk of spreading influenza.''

Professor Pennington, who retains an honorary post at Aberdeen University since his retirement, agreed with the advice.

He said: ''If you have got an outbreak like the one at Broughty Ferry it is probably best to keep the people where they are and not move them although that will ultimately be a clinical judgment.

''I would think, and would certainly hope, that the virus is probably well through its course and the worst of it may be over.''

The first five people died from the virus at the home on Sunday, March 25, and Monday, March 26, with NHS Tayside announcing on Monday that a sixth person had passed away.

On Monday NHS Tayside said influenza A had been identified as a contributing cause to the five deaths.


Sourced from The Courier, 4th April 2012.