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Cherie Blair battles swine flu: Report

world Updated: Jul 17, 2009 00:03 IST

Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has contracted suspected swine flu, forcing her to cancel a string of public engagements, a media report said on Thursday.

Mrs Blair started feeling unwell at the start of the week and is believed to have been diagnosed with suspected H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, on Tuesday, The Sun tabloid revealed.

Mrs Blair, who is a human rights lawyer, had been due to pick up an honorary degree at the Liverpool Hope University in north-west England today.

As she battles the flu, Mrs Blair, the most high profile person in Britain to catch swine flu to date, has been forced to cancel a string of public engagements, including receiving an honorary degree from Liverpool’s Hope University, the report said said, adding doctors gave her a course of Tamiflu and she is now resting.

A staff barbeque has also been dropped to ensure she doesn’t pass on the virus. The British tabloid said the former premier has not picked up the bug, and the family’s children are also unaffected.

However, the office of Mrs Blair refused to comment today on reports that she has swine flu.

"This is a private matter and we will not be making a comment," spokeswoman for Mrs Blair was quoted as saying by
the CNN.

With 29 deaths and a dramatic increase in the number of cases, Britain has the worst swine flu figures in Europe.

According to government figures, swine flu will cause one in eight workers to stay off work this summer, potentially
crippling many businesses still struggling in the wake of the recession.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, Britain's chief medical officer Liam Donaldson estimated that up to 12 percent of the workforce will be sick by September.