U.K. counts swine flu toll, costs

July 1, 2010 at 2:42 PM

LONDON, July 1 (UPI) -- Britain's 2009 swine flu outbreak killed 457 people and cost $1.8 billion, and the country cannot be complacent about possible future outbreaks, a report says.

The report said the death toll could have been higher but for the quick response to the pandemic and the mild nature of the disease, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Dame Dierdre Hine, who carried out the review, said the United Kingdom's response to the outbreak was "proportionate and effective," but the experience shouldn't "lead to complacency."

"It is a bit like childbirth – when it's all over, you forget quite how serious and how difficult it all was," she said.

"The threat of a flu pandemic remains very high," Hine said. "Both the successes and the lessons from this pandemic should inform policy and planning for the next one because there will be a next one, and the next one might be more severe."

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