Scottish Flu drive targets pregnant women

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Scottish ministers urged patients in high-risk groups to get immunised

Pregnant women have been urged to protect against flu, as it emerged five Scots were placed in intensive care last week with swine flu.

Just one in five pregnant women not in any other risk category for the disease have come forward for a jab in the last few months.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon urged expectant mothers to get immunised.

She also warned: "For more vulnerable individuals, contracting flu can have serious or even fatal consequences."

Ms Sturgeon said levels of flu in Scotland were still below normal seasonal levels, but added: "We are starting to see an increase and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get themselves vaccinated."

A total of 11 Scots have needed intensive care after contracting the H1N1 strain - with two dying - since the flu season started.

The number of GP consultations from people complaining of flu-like symptoms has risen to 45.8 per 100,000 - up from 36.1 per 100,000 last week.

Of the 127 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu, a total of 83 have tested positive for H1N1.

Across Scotland an estimated 233,359 people under 65 have been vaccinated against flu, with 47% of those who are eligible for the free jab coming forward.

In the over-65 age group the vaccination rate stands at 70% - but only 19% of mothers-to-be who are not in any other risk category have been vaccinated so far.

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