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Briton says he caught new flu during brief meeting

ONE of the two people in Britain to have contracted the new deadly flu strain without having recently visited Mexico said today he believed he caught the virus during a brief meeting with a work colleague.

Barry Greatorex, 42, is one of 13 people in Britain to have tested positive for the new strain of H1N1 Influenza A.

He said he caught the disease last week during a half-hour meeting with a colleague who had recently returned from Mexico but had herself so far tested negative.

"She had a cough then and that's seemingly where I got it," he told Sky News. "I wasn't there too long but it was obviously enough."

Greatorex and Graeme Pacitti, 24, from Falkirk yesterday became the first confirmed cases where the infection had been spread by person to person within Britain.

Previous sufferers had caught the virus while in Mexico and Pacitti became ill after spending time with Iain and Dawn Askham, Britain's first confirmed swine flu cases who returned from their Mexican honeymoon with the virus.

"The first non-imported cases of swine flu have been confirmed in England and Scotland," said Chief Medical Advisor Liam Donaldson late yesterday.

"Until now cases were confined to people who had themselves recently come back from Mexico."

Tests are now being carried out on a further 642 suspected cases across Britain.

Health officials said so far the majority of patients with the flu had suffered mild symptoms and had responded well to antiviral treatment.

Greatorex said he had been feeling "pretty bad" all week until he received the Tamiflu drug yesterday.

"The first few days this week, I've never experienced anything like it and wouldn't wish it on anybody," he said.

The government has been stockpiling anti-viral doses and has launched "Catch it, Bin it, Kill it!" adverts, urging people to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, throw them away and then wash their hands.


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