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A BRITON has died after contracting swine flu - the first death linked to the virus in the UK.

The Scot, who has not been named, passed away in hospital last night.

Although the death was linked to the H1N1 virus, the patient was already ill with a different condition.

The victim was one of 10 people receiving hospital treatment for swine flu north of the border.

It follows a rise in the number of cases in Scotland to nearly 500.

A Government statement said: "With regret, we can confirm that one of the patients who had been in hospital, and had been confirmed as suffering from the H1N1 virus, has died. The patient had underlying health conditions."

It is understood the person died at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

There are currently 1,226 cases of swine flu in Britain, with 61 new ones confirmed in England and 35 in Scotland over the weekend.

Aberdeen University bacteriologist Professor Hugh Pennington said the death of a patient suffering from swine flu was "to be expected".

But he insisted it did not point to the virus getting nastier. Prof Pennington added: "It's very sad, but with the number of cases we have seen it is really something which was going to happen sooner or later. But the evidence suggests the virus is not changing at all."

Scottish health chief Nicola Sturgeon said: "I'd like to express my condolences to the patient's family and friends.

"This is a tragedy for those concerned and they have my heartfelt sympathy.

"We remain one of the best-prepared countries in the world and the majority of people contracting the virus are experiencing relatively mild symptoms."


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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2009
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