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Wednesday, May 6

Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu - Update Twenty-five

New Zealand situation – Updated numbers

The number of confirmed and probable cases reported to the Ministry of Health as at 11:00am today are:

  • Five* confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1)
  • 15 probable cases - no change in the overall number since the last report, however, the case previously counted as confirmed is back into the probable category until the sequencing is completed, and one case that was notified as probable is no longer considered to be so because of further testing of their close contact.
*One of the six cases reported as confirmed on Monday 4 May was confirmed prematurely before the final DNA sequencing was carried out. The result of final testing for Influenza A (H1N1) for this case is expected to be known late today. The change in numbers reported has no impact on the individual concerned as they have already completed treatment. 

As soon as this was picked up, an additional check was put in place to improve the quality of reporting, by having ESR verify all newly confirmed cases since they are doing the final sequencing tests. 

As at 11:00am today, the number of suspected cases and people in isolation and being treated, as advised to the Ministry of Health are:
  • 79 suspected cases
  • There is no update available on the number of people in isolation or quarantine. Updated numbers will be available later this afternoon. The last figures (reported yesterday) show 309 people in isolation or quarantine and being treated with Tamiflu. These are people who have flu-like symptoms within seven days of having been in an area of concern or are close contacts of cases.
Numbers of suspected cases, and those receiving treatment and in isolation, will fluctuate when more suspected cases are found, or suspected cases are ruled out.

Screening passengers at International Borders

Health screening is in place at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports. 

In addition to the group of six passengers, and their 16 close contacts who arrived at Auckland on flight QF26 from Los Angeles yesterday morning, there are more people who have been assessed and are being treated with Tamiflu, in isolation. 

We have been advised that these people were all picked up by screening at Auckland airport, and include:
  • A group of 26 who arrived on Flight QF26 yesterday morning (5 May)
  • A group of nine people who arrived on Flight NZ7 from San Francisco yesterday (5 May)
  • A group of eleven people who arrived on Flight NZ5 from Los Angeles yesterday (5 May)
It’s important to note that not everyone listed above is showing symptoms. They are all being treated in isolation as a precaution, while further testing is done.

As of yesterday (the most recent official figures available) there were a total of 234 people in the Auckland area in quarantine or home isolation. The majority of these people (158) are contacts, who are apparently healthy, but who are quarantined as a precautionary measure. The remaining 76 people have returned from areas of concern, and are displaying influenza symptoms. They too are being treated and in isolation,

International Update from the World Health Organization

5 May 2009 -- As of 16:00 GMT, 5 May 2009, 21 countries have officially reported 1490 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection.

Mexico has reported 822 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 29 deaths. The United States has reported 403 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (140), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (4), Germany (9), Ireland (1), Israel (4), Italy (5), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (6), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (2), Spain (57), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (27). 

The WHO website advises it is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness. 

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. 

There is no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. 

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis. www.who.int.

In summary



There is no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand – that means that to date, all of the cases have recently returned from travel in affected areas or are close contacts of cases. New Zealand is in the containment phase. This is a credit to the health sector and all the agencies working together and importantly, to the many hundreds of New Zealanders who have willingly cooperated with health advice in order to help limit the spread to anyone else.

Internationally, there has been an increase in the number of cases and countries affected. The WHO is advising continued vigilance. 

“We are continuing to maintain our emphasis on limiting the spread,” Dr McGrath said.

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