Doctors have voiced concerns that swine flu infections could reach “epic proportions” at one hospital, with 18 patients reporting symptoms in just 24 hours.
Staff at the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, in Warwickshire, put all the sufferers into isolation in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
Four of them, however, were so ill that they had to be moved to the intensive care unit.
Medical workers have been ordered to wear face masks to ensure they do not succumb to infection.
One member of staff told the Daily Mail on condition of anonymity: “The situation is dire and it’s only going to get worse.
“The hospital managers are extremely worried and I’ve heard it said they are bracing themselves for the virus to reach epic proportions.”
A spokesman for the hospital said: “We have four patients in intensive care, two are confirmed swine flu and two are suspected.
“We have 14 patients with suspected swine flu within the main hospital, all of whom are isolated in side rooms. Staff are taking precautions.”
Seasonal flu continues to affect thousands of people across the country, many of whom have been turned away from GP surgeries which have run out of the vaccines, including those at risk such as pregnant women, the elderly and children with breathing problems.
It was disclosed yesterday that vaccine shortages mean patients in some parts of the country might have to wait eight months for innoculation.
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