Two people in the West Midlands have died after contracting swine flu this week, the NHS has said.

This takes the total number of deaths where there has been a positive test of the H1N1 virus to 35 in the region.

NHS West Midlands said 62 per cent of the victims were under 45, with 82 per cent having underlying conditions.

Latest figures show 241 people with swine flu were admitted to hospital this week compared with 229 last week.

However the number of people contacting their GP with flu-like illnesses in the West Midlands continued to fall this week, according to latest figures.

Dr Rashmi Shukla, regional director public health, NHS West Midlands, said: “Sadly there have been two swine-flu related deaths this week in the West Midlands. 

“We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of these patients. This sad news reminds us that even though most cases of swine flu are mild, it can be serious and potentially fatal and the people of this region should remain vigilant in helping prevent the spread of the virus.  The message is simple – catch it, bin it, kill it”.

The local NHS is currently agreeing the best way to vaccinate children under five years of age, who may be particularly vulnerable to swine flu. 

Children in this group will be invited by their local health service and advised how and where to be vaccinated over the next few weeks.