Seven college students in the suburbs of Toulouse in France are suffering from the H1N1 “swine flu” virus.Doctors believe they could be the first patients not to have had any contact with people who have travelled abroad to areas affected by the virus. All seven cases were traced to one of sixteen college classes. One student said: “I was told to cough away from others, to wear the mask.”
“Do you wash your hands frequently?” asked a journalist. “Yes,” came the reply.The seven patients remain in hospital after showing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, coughing and fatigue. The authorities are trying to calm public fears. Local government spokesperson Ms Baudouin-Clerc said: “All hospitalised youngsters are perfectly well. They cough a little, they have a few symptoms, but perfectly classical. They are all very well but it is important to inform, educate, to avoid panic.” The news comes after Europe recorded its first death from H1N1 flu in Scotland. The victim is believed to have been a 38-year-old woman from Paisley near Glasgow. It is the first death from swine flu outside of the Americas where the outbreak was first identified in Mexico in March. Over the weekend, 35 new cases of swine flu were identified in Scotland, bringing the total to 498, almost half the total number of cases in Britain which now stands at 1,226.