BIRMINGHAM International Airport could have been the gateway to the outbreak of swine flu in England as three British people confirmed with the disease were reported to have arrived back in the UK on the same flight.
A 12-year-old girl from Torbay, was on the same plane from Mexico as honeymoon couple Dawn and Iain Askham from Polmont, near Falkirk in Scotland.
It is not clear if the other two people confirmed with swine flu - a man from Barnet, north London and a 41-year-old Redditch woman were on the same flight, but both had also recently returned from Mexico.
Solihull and Yardley relatives of the Redditch woman have said she and her husband and daughter had only returned last Friday from Cancun. She is under quarantine at her home but her husband and daughter were not displaying any signs of the disease although all were being treated with the anti-viral drug, Tamiflu.
The infected woman’s cousin, who works for a Solihull security installation company said: “I have spoken to my aunt and my cousin is on the mend. She came back from Mexico with a sniffle and a temperature of 38 degrees. The doctor diagnosed swine flu and they will be in quarantine for 10 days. My uncle and aunt have been given Tamiflu but the doctor has advised them to carry on as normal. My aunt has said that it’s not as bad as people think.”
A spokeswoman for Birmingham International Airport said: “Travel is not restricted on normal international flights but flights to Mexico through Thomson Travel have been cancelled until May 9.
“There is only one flight a week so there will not be any departures for the next week or so. We are waiting to hear when the next arrival from Mexico will be.
“It is business as usual but if people do feel unwell then we would ask them to check before travelling.”
Meanwhile officials at the West Midlands Health Protection Agency advised people that if they had flu-like symptons and had returned from Mexico within the last seven days to call NHS Direct for advice.
A swine flu information line is also available on 0800 1513513
The World Health Organisation said four in ten of the UK population could catch the deadly disease over the next six months if a pandemic broke out.
Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by influenza type A which infects pigs.
It is probably spread through coughing and sneezing.
The symptoms are similar to seasonal flu.
Current treatments do work - Tamiflu and Relenza - but there is no vaccine.
Good personal hygiene, such as washing hands and covering the nose when sneezing is advised.
It is safe to eat pork.