Anyone still in doubt about the scale of the media pandemic surrounding swine flu should look to the fact that the first British ‘victims’ of the virus are paying PR consulatant Max Clifford to represent them and earning big money in the process.

Clifford’s tips on getting 15 minutes of fame include dating a celebrity or Royal Family member , flaunting your body and making a home sex video.

Clifford is the man behind the infamous Sun headline ‘Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster’ as  well as spicing up kiss and tell stories of the likes of prostitute Pamela Bordes and her various high profile clients , Antonia De Sancha  and Faria Alam (floosies of Tory politician David Mellor & ex-England manager Sven Eriksson respectively).

Clifford is praised for his knowledge of how the publicity machine works, which is another way of saying he knows what lies sell newspapers and gain attention.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is the only claim to fame this Scottish couple have. Dawn and Iain Askham were the first confirmed cases of swine flu in Britain.  They were in Mexico on honeymoon when they contracted the flu strain.

Clifford has said they had received  “a lot of money” for their stories but declined to give a figure. “They are bringing out the information that people want to read ….nothing is being held back, nothing is being hidden”.  Clifford’s track record is such that presenting himself as someone helping to bring  the truth to the public is a sick joke.

Just what revelations can this couple come out with to justify the big payout. We can  expect to see headlines like: ‘I was surrounded by sneezing Mexicans’  – ‘My hotel room was full of pigs’ – ‘My holiday hell in flu capital’.

Clifford revealed he was also representing a man from London who had contracted swine flu, and that his story was likely to appear in the tabloids shortly.

The sickness is spreading.