Wiltshire health workers are bracing themselves for an increase in swine flu cases as even hospital workers fall prey to the disease.

But health bosses are urging the public not to panic, despite a 51-year-old woman from the Malmesbury area dying on Wednesday after picking up the bug.

Sue Rowley , director of nursing and midwifery at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, said: "If staff at the hospital have come in contact with the flu they can still come to work but if they have any of the symptoms they will stay at home.

"We are seeing staff with symptoms as are every other business and school in the country.

"It is likely that we will have a high number of staff who are not at work because of this but we have a detailed plan to make sure we have the right number of staff in each department.

"We will move staff around and have a huge resource of bank nurses and doctors should we need them.

"We are constantly assessing the situation to make sure we make the right decisions at the hospital.

"I dont want people to panic because they simply dont have to.

"We knew there was going to be a flu outbreak and we have been planning for this for two years.

"The message we want to get out there is quite simple - we dont want people to visit the hospital or doctors surgeries if they have coughs, sneezes, runny noses, high temperatures and sore throats - they need to contact either the Flu Line or NHS Direct.

"Every year we have flu outbreaks and some people each year die from the disease - admittedly in most cases it affects the elderly whereas the difference with swine flu is that it is not just the elderly it affects - the woman who died was in her fifties.

""It can affect the young age groups but a number of these people have other things wrong with them.

"Lots of people are likely to get mild cases of the flu and some wont even realise they have it.

"We are assessing all of our patients at the Great Western Hospital as a matter of course to test them for the flu and if they are showing any of the symptoms we will follow the procedures which are now in place."

Anyone who has any of the symptoms is asked to stay at home and contact the number or web page below - Flu Line - 0800 1513513 Symptom checker - www.nhs.co.uk