Swine Flu in Spain
With over 20,000 new confirmed cases of swine flu recorded in Spain during the last week of August and a death toll of 25 people, the government has sanctioned clinical trials of a swine flu vaccine for 400 children aged 6 months to 17 years old. The vaccine has been developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the company is currently carrying out trials on over 9000 people in Europe and North Africa.
Meanwhile authorities are strongly encouraging people to change their behaviour, including refraining from greeting one another with kisses and handshakes - an intergral part of Spanish culture. "Do not kiss, do not shake hands, just say hi," is the message from the Madrid city council, although there are few who believe this campaign will be effective. Even Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez herself was seen greeting officials with kisses, despite the warnings issued by her own ministry.
The Roman Catholic church are keen to do their part in preventing further spread of swine flu virus in Spain, and are advising the faithful not to kiss the feet of religious icons of Jesus and Mary.
Whereas you're arguably just as likely to catch swine flu at home than abroad, if you're worried about travelling to Spain at the moment you can check the Foreign Office advice here.