Date Published: 4 June 2009

Update on Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu in New Zealand

Health News from New Zealand.

New Zealand situation

The cumulative total of confirmed cases in New Zealand is 11. This is an increase of one since yesterday's update.

A new confirmed case was notified last night in Auckland - a passenger who arrived on Air NZ Flight NZ5 which arrived in Auckland from North America on 30 May 2009. This person and their close contacts, along with passengers who were seated in the two rows in front of and the two rows behind the case as well as the row the case was sitting in are being contacted and asked to stay in isolation at home while they are being treated with Tamiflu.

The cumulative total of probable cases remains at 10 - unchanged since yesterday.

There are currently 66 suspected cases, up from 51 yesterday. The numbers of suspected cases fluctuate as more people with symptoms arriving from affected areas are assessed (treated and isolated), and as laboratory testing rules out some suspected cases.

There are 63 people in isolation or quarantine and being treated with Tamiflu. This is up from 54 since yesterday. The numbers of people in isolation vary according to when they complete 72 hours of the five-day course of Tamiflu.

We are watching with concern the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in Australia, particularly in the state of Victoria and some Melbourne schools. The continuing rise in the number of overseas cases notified to the World Health Organization and the sudden increase in the number of confirmed cases in our closest neighbour make it increasingly difficult to keep influenza A (H1N1) out of New Zealand.

All travellers, and particularly any school children returning from Melbourne, should keep a close watch for any flu symptoms. If you become unwell within 7 days of returning you should phone your GP or Healthline 0800 611 116 for medical advice.

Basic hygiene measures are also important for individuals, schools and organisations. These include staying at home if you are sick, handwashing, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Cruise Ship update

Staff from Auckland Regional Public Health met passengers from the Pacific Sun Cruise Ship when it docked in Auckland earlier this morning. A New Zealand woman who boarded the ship in Brisbane, tested positive for Influenza on board the ship. Further tests are being conducted today to determine the type of influenza, but preliminary results suggest that it is likely to be seasonal influenza. The woman has recovered and she, along with 12 close contacts have been asked to stay in isolation at home.

There were around 1700 passengers on board the ship. All have been given information on what to do if they become unwell with influenza-like symptoms in the next seven days ? phone a doctor or Healthline for advice 0800 611 116. Passengers have also completed Passenger Locator Forms, to make it easier for public health staff to contact them should the test results change the situation.

Awareness campaign
From this Saturday, the Ministry of Health will be increasing its messages to the public on influenza through information on radio, newspapers, posters at airports and billboards. This includes practical steps that people can take to help keep themselves and their families well over the winter, and reduce transmission of winter viruses including influenza, such as good personal hygiene (handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes) and staying at home if unwell. It also reminds people to make preparations for the likely future spread of Influenza A (H1N1) within New Zealand. This includes being able to look after themselves and families at home if they become unwell, having sufficient supplies of food, water and medicines, and preparing for the possibility that some schools may need to close for a time.

International Update from the World Health Organization

3 June 2009 -- As of 06:00 GMT, 3 June 2009, 66 countries have officially reported 19,273 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 117 deaths.



Also in the News:

Acute respiratory infection warning for bus and tram users - 17 Jan '11

Increased UK internet searches for flu info on NHS website - 6 Jan '11

UK Campaign to remind people to help prevent spread of flu - 30 Dec '10

Half of swine flu deaths were in previously healthy people - Liverpool Univ - 13 Jul '10

Health of future generations determined by childhood conditions - 25 Jun '10

Canada works with National and International Partners to Manage the Spread of the H1N1 Flu Virus - 29 Jun '09

NZ moves to management phase of H1N1 outbreak - 19 Jun '09

NZ remains in containment phase of H1N1 outbreak - 18 Jun '09

Archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Sandalphon are believed to take special interest in assisting with pregnancy, childbirth and adoptions.

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