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Saturday, June 13

Swine flu spread in Community


From the website of Ministry of Health New Zealand:

Cases of the new influenza A (H1N1) swine flu virus arising in the community have been anticipated and have come as no surprise to the team leading New Zealand's response to the pandemic. We've seen widespread community transmission in many countries overseas, particularly in Victoria, Australia where there are now over a thousand cases in one state. In New Zealand we are still very much in "containment" phase, and the public can have confidence that staff working across the health sector are pulling out all the stops to delay its spread.

The handful of cases in Wellington with no apparent link to international travel are being managed in the community by public health staff. As with most of the other cases, these people are being cared for at home and recovering well. For most people with symptoms, the severity of the illness is no worse than the usual winter flu that circulates at this time of the year.

In most cases, people with influenza can safely recover at home and will not need to see their GP or emergency clinic. However, people should seek medical advice when necessary, especially if their condition worsens. Seeking medical advice is particularly important for people with underlying medical problems who are at higher risk of complications from influenza.

If you have recently travelled and develop influenza symptoms, it is still important that you phone for medical advice - Healthline 0800 611 116 or your own GP. Don't turn up at the doctor's rooms or emergency department, as you can spread the virus to other people.

The Ministry of Health will be advising GPs, medical centres and emergency departments in the Wellington region to be prepared to see additional cases.

The numbers

The cumulative total of confirmed cases in New Zealand is now 43, up from 34 yesterday. The cumulative total of probable cases is 18, down from 25 yesterday.

There are nine new confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) today.

There are five in Wellington, two in Christchurch, one in Auckland and one in Waikato. Further details about these cases are not available at this time. The majority are linked to international travel or previously confirmed cases, with some still under investigation.

All the new cases are being treated at home with Tamiflu. Close contacts of the new confirmed cases are being traced and will be treated with Tamiflu and asked to stay in isolation at home.

Reflecting the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global pandemic, the Ministry of Health has moved its pandemic response status to Phase 6 - 6.2 Code Yellow. Phase 6 in our plan is defined by having increased and substantial transmission overseas.

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