A six-year-old girl from Oxfordshire is recovering at home after contracting the swine flu virus.

Health officials announced this afternoon the girl - who has not been named - is the first confirmed case of someone having contracted the H1N1 virus in the county.

Dr Eamonn O’Moore, interim director and consultant in communicable disease control for Thames Valley Health Protection Unit, said the girl had recently been to Mexico.

It is understood she has been at her school since returning from the country where the outbreak started but Dr O'Moore said health officials were not unduly concerned about fellow pupils or staff.

The school would not be closed, he added.

However tests are being carried out on people who have had close contact with her.

Swine flu has been credited with 101 deaths in Mexico.

The girl would be the 15th confirmed case in Britain.

Dr O'Moore said: "We can confirm that a six year old girl from Oxfordshire has tested positive for influenza A (H1N1) virus.

"The girl is being treated at home and is expected to make a full recovery.

"She is being treated with anti-viral drugs and is responding well to treatment.

"We can confirm that she has recently visited Mexico.

"Following national advice, as the girl did not present with any symptoms while at school and would not have been infectious, no follow up is recommended for the pupils or staff.

"We can also confirm we are not closing the school concerned.

"The Health Protection Agency is carrying out tests on people who have had close contact with the girl."

Dr O'Moore did not want the confirmation of the county's first case to panic the public.

However at this stage officials have not announced where the girl lives in the county nor what school is involved.

Dr O'Moore said: "We would like to reassure members of the public that levels of this disease in the country are still very low.

"Symptoms of swine influenza are similar to those of seasonal influenza, usually a feverish illness accompanied by one, or more, of cough, sore throat, headache and muscle aches.

"For most people this illness appears to be mild and is treatable with anti-viral drugs.

"Oxfordshire PCT and Thames Valley Health Protection Unit have well established plans in place to deal with the containment phase of this outbreak.

"Our plans also ensure that we are well prepared in the event of any escalation of the status of the World Health Organisation."

The World Health Organisation on Thursday raised its risk warning to one that indicated a pandemic of the disease was expected.

The effects of the disease outside of Mexico have so far appeared to be less severe.

The regional director of public health, Professor John Newton, said: “The Health Protection Agency and local NHS staff have been working hard over the last week to identify and treat possible cases in this area.

"I have every confidence in the skill and dedication of the teams involved.

"Most of these cases have in fact turned out to be negative.

"However, given the pattern of spread of this new form of influenza, I am not surprised that we now have a case in the South Central area."

An Oxfordshire PCT spokesman added: "Our advice is that the general public should stay calm and protect themselves by following the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it Campaign.

"If a person has flu-like symptoms, they should stay at home and contact the National Flu Information Line on 0800 1513513 or NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

"Our advice is that people should not visit their local hospital."

More updates will be posted to this breaking story when they are available.

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